While the vets at Southwest Florida Veterinary Specialists are here for your emergency needs, there are certain things you can do to help your dog maintain their well-being and prevent emergency situations caused by poor overall health.
1. Feed Your Dog a Healthy Diet
Good nutrition is the foundation of good health. To keep your dog in the best shape possible, speak with your vet about which type of food they recommend for your dog based on their age, breed, size, and lifestyle. Aim for food that contains high-quality ingredients that help support a balanced diet.
If your dog has a special dietary need or medical condition, ask your vet if there is a prescription diet available that may be able to meet your dog's needs.
2. Help Your Dog Maintain a Healthy Weight
Helping your dog maintain a healthy weight is essential for their health. Obesity has been linked to a number of health conditions in dogs such as diabetes, joint pain, and heart disease. While selecting high-quality food is essential, it is important to also feed your dog the correct amount. Speak with your vet to determine how many calories your dog should be eating daily.
It's also important to remember that treats should only make up about 10% of your dog's daily intake. While treats are great training tools (and your dog loves them), it is important not to feed your dog so many that you're going over their daily recommended calorie amount.
If possible, try switching up standard dog treats for lower-calorie snacks such as pieces of apple, cucumber, or frozen blueberries.
3. Make Sure Your Dog Gets Plenty of Exercise
Different breeds of dogs have different exercise requirements. While some dogs can stay healthy with one or two daily walks around the block, others may need an hour or more of vigorous activity each day. When choosing a dog be sure to factor in your lifestyle and try to select a dog that matches your activity level.
Adequate physical activity not only helps to keep your dog's body in good condition, but it can also help to prevent mental boredom which can lead to destructive behaviors or anxiety. Walks, backyard games, and social time at dog parks are all great ways to ensure your pooch gets plenty of exercise.
4. Bring Your Dog for Annual Wellness Exams
Routine physical exams are the foundation of your pet's long-term health and well-being. Taking your dog for an annual veterinary exam, even if they seem to be in good health, allows your vet to assess your pet's health and screen for any emerging conditions that are easier to treat when caught early. It also gives your vet a chance to check on your pet's diet and ensure they are getting the nutrients they require.
In addition to a yearly wellness exam, it is a good idea to have your dog get annual bloodwork and a fecal exam to check on their internal health.
5. Keep Vaccinations Vaccinations Up-To-Date
The vets at Southwest Florida Veterinary Specialists believe that vaccinations are essential for helping your pet live a long and healthy life. Regularly scheduled vaccines help to protect your dog from many highly contagious, potentially life-threatening diseases. Most states require by law that all pets be vaccinated against rabies, but there are a number of other serious conditions that vaccines protect dogs against including parvo, distemper, and bordetella.
6. Provide Parasite Prevention
Along with regular vaccination, you should also ensure your pet is up-to-date on any required parasite prevention measures. There are a host of parasites, including fleas, ticks, and heartworm, that can cause your dog to become seriously ill or uncomfortable. Speak to your vet about the most effective ways to protect your dog against the parasites that are common in your area.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.