How do I keep my dog healthy?
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:
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 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.