A healthy dog makes a happy owner. There are many different ways to make your dog healthy, but we are going to talk about five of them. These are simple and surprisingly easy ways to help your dog to live longer and enjoy his life with you. We will go from food to exercise and everything in between. However, please speak to your vet before making any changes to your dog’s diet. The last thing you would want to do is accidentally make him sick.
Adding to Your Dog’s Diet
A dog’s diet can be a tricky thing to get right since every dog has different needs and tastes. However, you could always try to add some more healthy ingredients to your dog’s diet (after you check with your vet) and it may stick with them, such as adding a teaspoon of coconut oil to your dog’s meal or even adding a few drops to his homemade or store-brought treats. Coconut oil is said to help dogs with their digestion system as well as giving them fresher breath, and it can improve their skin health.
Some fruits and vegetables can also make great additions to your dog’s diet. This may not be too surprising, but it is also not that common within the diets of many dogs. Dogs are actually able to eat certain types of vegetables such as carrots. Carrots are a great way to get potassium and Vitamin A into their bodies. There are other vegetables such as sweet potatoes known for their high value in Vitamin C and fiber. However, there are also some fruits and vegetables that should never enter your dog’s stomach. Examples of these types of food are onions and grapes. It is very important to research on what you can feed your dog before doing so.
Lastly, you can try to add fish oil to your dog’s meal—especially kibble or dry food. This type of oil has Omega-3 fatty acid in it which can help with your dog’s heart, joints, fur and even something that can be often overlooked . . . their nails.
Subtracting from Your Dog’s Diet
Next, let’s talk about what should be taken out of your dog’s diet. We, as humans, have learned (or are slowly learning) that excess sugar is not that good for our bodies, and this is especially true for dogs. However, some dog treats and dog food companies may put sugar or high- fructose corn syrup (HFCS) into their food. So, be sure to check the ingredients in your dog’s treats, and, if there is a mention of HFCS or sugar, then it may be a good idea to change the brand to something that is healthier for your dog. You may even want to create your own brand-new, healthy, homemade treats for your dog.
Another item of food that you can take out or replace is grains. Grains can give your dog carbohydrates, which they do need, but there are better alternatives that can give your dog whole carbohydrates, especially for those that are unable to stomach grains. You can replace grains with sweet potatoes, or other high-quality dog food. However, when you are changing your dog’s diet, do it slowly so his stomach can get used to the new food.
A lot of pet owners use plastic bowls as food containers, and this is not a good idea in the long run. It would be better to change to stainless-steel bowls because they are easier to clean and more durable. The most important difference between plastic and stainless steel is that plastic can get scratched up quicker, and these tiny scratches could hide bacteria. This, in turn, can cause allergic reactions and illnesses.
Keeping fit is a great way to bond with your pet and get both of you in shape. However, it can get boring and repetitive. But, a trip to the dog park can offer a nice change of pace. Keep exercise exciting, so that your dog is able to experience different sights, sounds and smells. And, you could also introduce stairs to give him more of a cardio boost. Just be sure to keep him on a leash, especially if he isn’t properly trained, because the last thing you want is to have to track him down if he gets lost. However, if you are unable to walk your dog every day, then there is no harm in getting a dog walker to take over while you are at work, but remember to check references and reviews to make sure the walker is someone you can trust.
Having a healthy dog is not only about keeping his body well, but his mind as well. In order to help keep his brain active and sharp, you can invest in some puzzle toys for him to conquer. However, if toys are not really a strong motivator, there is always old-fashioned obedience training (if he is not already trained). For starters, there is one great, toy-less game that you two can play called “treat-hide-and-seek.” The rules are that you tell your dog to stay and sit while you hide treats around the yard or house. Once you are done, let him use his smelling abilities to go exploring.
These five steps are easy to do and they can be slowly introduced into your dog’s life so that it becomes natural for them. Start today for a healthier dog tomorrow!