How do I keep my dog healthy?

Warragul & Drouin Gazette - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

A healthy dog should be alert and re­spon­sive. Most dogs, ex­cept for el­derly an­i­mals, will be en­er­getic and have a healthy ap­petite. Your dog should have bright, clear eyes, a glossy coat and clean, white teeth. If your dog is lethargic or in­ap­petant or has any ob­vi­ous signs of ill­ness such as a nasal dis­charge, vom­it­ing, di­ar­rhoea, itchy skin, ex­ces­sive pant­ing or dif­fi­culty breath­ing, con­tact your vet im­me­di­ately.

To keep your dog healthy you should con­sider:

Vac­ci­na­tion

There are a range of in­fec­tious diseases that can cause con­sid­er­able ill­ness in dogs, par­tic­u­larly in pup­pies. You can pro­tect your pet from ill­ness by en­sur­ing that their vac­ci­na­tions are up-to-date. Talk to your vet for fur­ther ad­vice re­gard­ing im­mu­ni­sa­tions.

Worm and flea pre­ven­tion

Pup­pies are par­tic­u­larly sus­cep­ti­ble to a host of in­ter­nal par­a­sites in­clud­ing round­worm, tape­worm, hook­worm, whip­worm and heart­worm. Fleas are a com­mon ex­ter­nal par­a­site in dogs. They cause itch­i­ness and ir­ri­ta­tion which can be quite se­vere in dogs with flea al­ler­gies. Speak to your vet for worm and flea pre­ven­tion pro­to­cols for your dog.

De­sex­ing

De­sex­ing is an im­por­tant part of re­spon­si­ble pet own­er­ship. By de­sex­ing your pet you will be pre­vent­ing unwanted preg­nan­cies and po­ten­tially im­prov­ing your pet’s be­hav­iour. Un­de­sexed pets are more likely to stray and fight and are more likely to de­velop var­i­ous health prob­lems later in life. Un­de­sexed bitches are far more likely to de­velop mam­mary tu­mours in old age whereas un­cas­trated males are pre­dis­posed to de­vel­op­ing pro­static dis­ease.

Ex­er­cise and nu­tri­tion

Obe­sity is a com­mon prob­lem among Aus­tralian pets. By en­sur­ing that your pet is fed a healthy diet and re­ceives ad­e­quate ex­er­cise you will avoid obe­sity and associated health prob­lems such as di­a­betes, heart dis­ease and ex­ac­er­bated os­teoarthri­tis. To en­sure your pet is pro­vided with a “bal­anced" diet you should feed your dog a high qual­ity pre­mium com­mer­cial food and of­fer some nat­u­ral foods for va­ri­ety. Nat­u­ral foods in­clude hu­man-grade raw meat (eg lamb), raw meaty bones and some veg­eta­bles.

All dogs re­quire ex­er­cise, re­gard­less of their breed or size. Make sure that you have fac­tored your pet’s ex­er­cise into your daily rou­tine.

Dogs should not be ex­er­cised im­me­di­ately be­fore or af­ter eat­ing as it can cause prob­lems such as bloat (which can be fa­tal), par­tic­u­larly in deep-chested dogs.

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