Canine Heath: 4 Daily Care Tips from Veterinarians

Canine health involves daily have-to's and highly recommended health care tips that can help you keep your dog healthy and happy for life. This includes a healthy diet, regular exercise and plenty of water. Some pet parents also take care of their canine's health by adding supplements, aromatherapy, herbalism, massage, acupuncture, and even hydrotherapy into their dog's daily care. The four main components of canine health, however, are nutrition, exercise, supplementation, and preventative care.

Dog Nutrition

Good dog nutrition is not only good for your dog's physical health, but it is also has a positive effect on your dog's mental health as well. Good dog nutrition can help avoid a number of common (and preventable) conditions such as allergies, bad breath, constipation, diarrhea, chronic skin conditions, frequent stomach upsets, ear infections, hyperactivity, anxiousness, aggressiveness, and anxiety, to name a few.

To avoid common dog conditions resulting from a poor diet, feed your dog foods with a 40/50/10 ratio. This means, 40% meat, 50% veggies, and 10% carbohydrate. Choose premium brand and holistic foods as they do not contain fillers, by-products or harmful chemical preservatives. Avoid low-quality, low-nutrition, commercial dog foods that contain by-products as well as harmful chemical preservatives such as BHT, BHA, and Ethoxyquin.

In addition to feeding your dog a balanced, high-quality diet, you should:

  • Keep your dog's waterbowl filled with fresh water
  • Keep your dog away from the trash and small indigestible objects
  • Avoid feeding your dog table scraps

Dog Supplementation

Most natural and organic dog foods will contain most of the vitamins, nutrients and essentials dogs need. However, not all dog food contains all of the vitamins and minerals your dog needs. This is where antioxidants are important. Antioxidants have healing properties. They assist the body's natural defense mechanism and, in turn, boost the immune system. They also decrease the effects of free radicals. The best dog supplements/antioxidants should contain vitamins A, C and E, and vitamins B, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6 and B12.

Dog Preventative Care

Regular exercise can ward off everything from heart disease to obesity. Exercise can even prevent emotional problems, and it also promotes joint health and healthy bones. Walking, running, catching, and swimming are all excellent ways to keep your dog healthy, trim and fit. Keep in mind that exercise limits are different for dogs depending on size. Several 15-minute walks per day might be plenty for a pug, while an hour of group play at the park is just enough for a German Shepherds. No matter what size or breed your dog may be, some exercise is always better than no exercise.

A Note About Oral Health

Proper oral hygiene is crucial to canine health. When you neglect your dog's dental health, you leave the door wide open for a number of preventable conditions such as bad breath, gingivitis, periodontal disease, tonsillitis, pharyngitis (sore throat), kidney infections, and infections involving the heart valves. To ward off diseases related to poor oral health, brush your dog's teeth regularly and see your vet for regular check-ups and cleanings.