The following is a brief course in puppies 101, complete with facts about dogs from a preventative care point of view, to keep your canine companion healthy.
Puppies 101: Staying Slim and Trim
Preventing obesity in your dog is the most proactive step that you can take toward keeping him healthy and extending his lifespan. Ask your veterinarian what your dog’s ideal healthy weight should be. Use the feeding guide on the specific bag of food that you feed him, and feed for the desired weight. Keep biscuits and extra treats to a daily minimum, and engage your dog in physical activity as frequently as possible. By preventing obesity, you will reduce your dog’s chances of developing the following health problems:
- Degenerative joint disease
- Heart and respiratory problems
- Anesthetic complications
Puppies 101: Brush Those Pearly Whites
Brushing your dog’s teeth every other day with a toothbrush and a toothpaste that is specifically formulated for use in dogs plays an important role in minimizing plaque buildup. Plaque that accumulates hardens into tartar, which infiltrates the gums and leads to gingivitis. The bacteria that is causing gum inflammation can do considerable further damage:
- Tooth loss
- Bone decay
- Oral abscesses
- Compromise heart health
- Compromise kidney health
Your dog will likely require a dental cleaning procedure, which is performed in your veterinarian’s clinic, at some point in his lifetime. A diligent home dental care routine can retard the progression of tartar buildup so that fewer of these cleanings, which must be performed under anesthesia, will be necessary.
Canine Senior Citizens
The average age for when a dog enters his senior years is seven. At this stage, his metabolism slows down. Weaning him onto a senior food that is formulated to accommodate these changes will help to prevent obesity and preserve his metabolic functions.
Your veterinarian will likely recommend blood tests with each annual examination. The results of these tests can be compared to your dog’s prior baseline test values, enabling your veterinarian to catch any subtle changes as they happen. Early detection of illness provides the best chances for treating or controlling your dog’s condition. The following are some of the most common conditions to afflict senior dogs that your veterinarian will be looking for when performing a physical examination and when assessing laboratory test results:
- Kidney disease
- Cushing’s disease
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Degenerative joint disease
- Canine cognitive dysfunction syndrome or Dementia
- Blindness or Deafness
Awareness of these facts on puppies 101 and their health, following your veterinarian’s guidelines and these steps toward preventative care, you and your dog can enjoy a life together for years to come. Check out these Puppy Care Tips !