You love them and love to play with them but some a dog comes with responsibility. Avoid common dog health mistakes by practicing the same care you take to keep yourself healthy.
- TIP: Dogs naturally hide their infirmities as a defensive instinct.
- Step 1: Watch for signs that your dog is eating less, acting lethargic, or suffering from diarrhea. Don't wait till they can't move to get them in, delaying critical care. And pay close attention to changes in drinking habits and urination.
- Step 2: Walk your dog to exercise them, and allow them to socialize with the natural world. Pets can become depressed and need interaction. Separation anxiety and boredom can result in chewing, digging, and nonstop howling.
- Step 3: Play with your pet. Like all of us, dogs are healthier when they are connected, interacting, and stimulated. Besides, your dog is your buddy -- maybe it thinks that you need a workout, too.
- FACT: As of 2007, dog bites accounted for a third of all homeowners' insurance liability claims, costing $356.2 million, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
- Step 4: Spay or neuter your dog to reduce breast cancer risks in females and testicular cancer risks in males.
- TIP: Never give human medicine to dogs. Anti-inflammatory drugs are the principal cause of poisoning for small animals.
- Step 5: Tend to fleas and ticks right away. Dogs are susceptible to Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and a host of other ailments. Put them on regular medication to resist disease.
- Step 6: Take your dog in for a physical exam at least once a year for blood work and fecal exams for parasites. See that they get a full examination and X-rays of their gums, lungs, heart, and teeth, as well as checks of their eyes and ears.
- TIP: Don't think of fleas as just the dog's problem. Besides infecting you with itchy sores, fleas can also transmit serious diseases. Be proactive.
- Step 7: Stick to a daily regimen of teeth brushing. See that your pet has teeth-cleaning treats and chew toys to maintain their health. Gum disease is five times more prevalent in dogs than in humans.
- Step 8: Overfeed the dog and you will jeopardize their health, leaving them vulnerable to arthritis and other obesity issues. Find another way to show your love and give them smaller portions of quality dog food every day.
- Step 9: Neglect preventative care for your dog, perhaps the most common dog health mistake an owner can make, and you endanger them. Instead, maintain a strict schedule for vaccinations and dewormings.