Help Your Dog Live a Full Life
Your dog brightens your day with their unconditional love. For many, they are considered a family member and participate in their outings. It makes sense that you want these treasured pets to live a long and happy life. What does that involve? Just like people, their physical and mental health is key to a full life.
Support Your Dog’s Physical Health
Your dog relies on you to keep them healthy. They can’t verbalize if they don’t feel well or have an issue, but there are things you can watch that let you know your dog is in good health. According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), the following are areas to watch:
- Skin – just like humans, their skin should be flexible and smooth. Check for growths, pests/parasites, and other issues.
- Coat – their coat should be glossy and pliable without bald spots or dandruff.
- Eyes – many say a dogs eyes show their soul, so make sure they are bright and shiny. No discoloration of the whites or swelling. And watch that eyelashes are not rubbing the eyeball.
- Ears – they should be nice and clean and should not smell. If your dog is scratching them a lot or shaking their head frequently, there may be an issue.
- Nose – use the saying as a guide – cold nose, warm heart. Seriously, a dogs nose should be cool and moist. Although a warm, dry nose does not mean they are sick. But watch for discharge and other issues.
- Mouth, teeth, and gums – their gums should be firm and pink. Watch for super bad breath (foul smelling), plaque, and tartar build up. Brushing your dogs teeth is highly recommended.
- Weight – know what the average weight is for your dog. They shouldn’t be overweight, but being underweight could signal a health issue.
- Vet appointments – it’s important to see your vet on a regular basis to ensure they have the necessary vaccines and for wellness checks.
Like humans, supplements can help your dog’s health, especially as they age. Youngevity offers PerPETual, Arthrydex and Dog Companion Chewable – Beef. Each provides nutrients and minerals to support your dog’s health, including healthy bones and joints.
Helping Your Dog Have a Fulfilling Life
We know the benefits that dogs provide to us, but we also need to be aware of their needs. Some dogs are prone to anxiety, depression, and compulsive behaviors, but you can help your dog cope with these issues. The ASPCA recommends the following for overall mental health for your dog:
- Maintain a routine
- Avoid stressors, if possible
- Leave the TV or radio on when you’re out of the house
- Use positive reinforcement
- Take great care of them physically
- Play with them
- Know your dog’s personality
- Consider your own emotional state as your dog can sense feelings
You might also consider adding enrichment activities to your dog’s day, especially if weather stops you from getting outside. The ASPCA has a fun list of do-it-yourself enrichment games or you can buy toys that offer these same benefits. Again, knowing your dog’s personality is key when picking an enrichment activity.
These activities can be as simple as hide and seek with a treat, favorite toy, or even yourself. Or create puzzles that the dog has to solve to get a treat. And for the active dog, try an agility course that can be done inside or outside.
Combining physical and mental health, you and your dog can have a wonderful relationship that fills both your needs for many years.