Dogs can face a number of health issues (just like their pet parents!). Preventative pet health care can help dogs live longer, healthier lives — and even prevent diseases and injuries that could cost a fortune to address. When dog parents take the time to provide preventative care for their dog it may even stop any existing health issues from getting worse.
There are several ways to provide preventative health care for dogs. Read on to find out more.
Routine Vet Check-ups
When dogs are regularly taken to the vet for physical exams, vets are better able to assess their overall health. They can monitor the dog's weight, skin and coat condition, oral health, and more — so if something changes, they can give pet parents the best path forward for their dog’s optimal health.
Regular check-ups can also catch a potential disease or illness early on. This can mean a better prognosis for dogs with serious health issues.
Vets also can provide services such as nail trims and ear cleanings at regular check-ups, which keeps dogs hygienic, healthy, and happy.
Dog's Skin and Coat
Regardless of whether dogs have skin allergies, their skin and coat still need consistent, preventative care to avoid irritation, itchiness, lumps, shedding, and more.
Regular grooming is important for every breed of dog. Brushing removes dead hair and skin, distributes natural oils found in their fur or hair, prevents matting (which can cause sores and other issues), stimulates new growth, keeps their coat shiny, and even removes tiny parasites. It’s also a bonding opportunity; it can build trust and improve the dog’s tolerance of body handling.
Fuzzy recommends regularly bathing dogs, though how often depends on the dog’s activity level, coat, breed, etc. Bathing dogs can help alleviate itching and irritation, reduce shedding, kill parasites, and prevent unpleasant smells. Oh, and keep pet parents' houses clean!
Dog's Flea and Tick Preventatives
Here’s a nasty fact: a single female flea can lay up to 2,000 eggs, and adult female fleas can start laying up to 40-50 eggs a day 24-48 hours after taking their first blood meal. Once they hatch, they start biting, leaving itchy bumps and patches of irritated skin (called flea dermatitis) in their wake.
To boot, fleas may be carrying tapeworm or other diseases. Though rare, fleas can also transmit diseases to humans via bites, such as flea-borne typhus.
No matter where dogs and their pet parents live or what season it is, fleas and ticks can find their way to dogs’ skin. Regular doses of heartworm, flea, intestinal parasites and tick prevention help keep dogs protected from parasites year-round.
Preventative Dental Care for Dogs
Most people know that preventative oral care is important for their health, but what about their dogs?
According to an Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Royal Canin, fewer than one in ten pet parents brush their dog's teeth more than once a day (1%) or only once a day (7%). Others brush their dog's teeth a few times a week (8%), once a week (10%), once a month (7%), or rarely (24%). Four in ten (43%) pet parents responded they never brush their pet's teeth.
Here’s why they should start: plaque can accumulate on dogs’ teeth, which turns into tartar. Tartar buildup can plague dogs’ health just as it does humans’. It can cause gum inflammation and disease, tooth decay, abscesses, and other oral infections. Preventative dental care can ward off disease and other oral health issues in dogs.
Preventative dental care doesn’t have to be hard. A variety of dog dental care products are available, including toothbrushes and toothpaste for dogs, dental chews, and more.
Most pet parents’ worst nightmare is losing their dog. Unfortunately, one in three pets gets lost within their lifetimes. But missing dogs with microchips are more likely to be reunited with their dog parents than are dogs without one, and microchips help recover more than 10,000 lost pets every month! Any improvement in odds is reason enough to get dogs microchipped.
Microchips, which are about the size of a grain of rice, offer a permanent identification solution for dogs. Tags and collars can fall off, but microchips are embedded underneath the dog's skin. Microchips are affordable, painless, and easy to register to a national pet recovery database.
Diet and Exercise for Dogs
Depending on their breed, size, and age, dogs have varying nutritional needs. However, all dogs need a diet with six essential nutrients:
The American Association of Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) creates standards for balanced diets and ingredients used in dog food. When deciding the best kibble for dogs, the AAFCO recommends checking labels for ingredients, drugs/additives, feeding directions, calories, nutrient guarantees, and other descriptors.
Though activity level varies by breed, age, and other factors, all dogs need some time to run, stretch, and play. Pet parents can ask their vet for specific exercise recommendations but should aim for about 30 minutes per day.
The best way to get dogs their exercise? When pet parents exercise with their pups.
On rainy days or when pet parents can’t get up and be active with their dogs, training and enrichment can provide an outlet for dogs to relieve some pent-up energy, too!
Preventative Care for Dogs: The Key to Longer, Healthier Lives
Preventative care is crucial to prolonging pet dogs’ lives, all while ensuring they’re happy and healthy along the way.
If a pet parent has any questions or concerns about their dog’s health and how to approach preventative care, they can always consult with their regular vet. They can also take advantage of Fuzzy’s team of online vets, who are on call 24/7. Sign up to become a Fuzzy member today!