Having a pet is a rewarding experience, with most four-legged friends becoming another member of the family. And just like the humans in your brood, you want to make sure your pet is happy and healthy. If you’re thinking of adding to your brood, make sure to do your research. There are many ways to promote pet wellness aside from the annual veterinary visit – read on for some of our tips and tricks to keep Fido feeling great!

Ensure Proper Nutrition

Not all dog foods are created equal, and table scraps are a big no-no. So how do you find a quality food that is both delicious to your pet and also nutritious? The first step is to talk to your vet – they may have recommendations based on breed or certain health concerns. When shopping for kibble, check the ingredient list. You want to see a lot of natural proteins and less grain. Make sure to keep dog treats to a minimum; dog obesity is a real concern among the veterinary community and should be taken seriously.

Keep Dental Care in Check

Oral health in pets is often overlooked but is critical – untreated dental problems can lead to serious illness or infection. Make sure to brush your dog’s teeth regularly – your vet can recommend the right products. Some animals do not like this, but wiping the teeth and gums with gauze works well too. There are also special dental chews designed to remove plaque and freshen breath. It’s not a bad idea to include a teeth cleaning at the annual vet visit or trip to the groomer – let the pros handle it.

Exercise is Key

We aren’t talking about your 6 AM spin class; your dog needs both physical and mental stimulation in order to stay happy and healthy. Regular walks and trips to the dog park are wonderful – remember that some cities require special dog park permits which can be purchased at animal control. Dog day cares are also a great option – drop the fur babies off for a half-day or full-day of play with other pups in a controlled environment. Most even have webcams so you can watch at work.

An Ounce of Prevention…

…Is worth way more than a pound of cure! This may be a somewhat cliche term, but it is quite true in the pet realm. Getting your dog on a heartworm preventative is always recommended, as is flea and tick protection. Keeping up with all vaccinations is also important, and often required for animals to visit boarding facilities. If your dog likes to get into things, remove the temptation – contain garbage, cleaning supplies, or other materials away from Fluffy’s reach.

Promoting your pet’s health is easy to do and will ensure a long and happy life. Don’t forget that humans can also benefit greatly in the wellness department – get outside and get active alongside your pooch! You’ll both be glad you did.

by Rachelle Gordon