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Healthy Dogs: Three Basics For Raising a Happy Dog

Sep 8, 2008
Just as we have to follow a healthy lifestyle if we want to be physically fit, so to do our pets. Dogs require a combination of good food, exercise, and love and attention from their owners in order to live healthy lives. It doesn't take a lot of money to give your puppy everything it needs to maintain a healthy mind and body. It just takes some care and attention by a loving owner.

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your dog requires following some basic principles.

When It Comes To Food, Quality Not Quantity

To make sure your dog is healthy, take care in feeding him or her a high-quality, nutritious diet. Just as you need a nutritious diet that includes balance and natural ingredients, so does your pooch. Veterinarians recommend a dog's diet be roughly 40% meat or protein, 50% vegetables and 10% carbohydrates. Look at the ingredients listed in your dog's food and make sure that protein sources, such as lamb, chicken, or venison, are listed in the top five ingredients. Dogs also benefit from whole grain, low fat dog food. In this one area, spending a little more on a more nutritious brand of dog food really will provide long-term health benefits for your pet.

Regular Exercise

Making time for regular exercise is also a key component to a dog's healthy lifestyle. Dogs do not have the ability to understand the positive benefits of exercise so it is up to you, the owner, to make sure your pet is in proper physical shape. If you are unsure about how much exercise is right for the age and breed of your dog, ask your veterinarian for their recommendation.

Walking your dog is the easiest way to keep it healthy. A 10 - 15 minute walk around a nearby park or your neighborhood can help a dog calm down before bedtime or be a great start to a day. Swimming is also a fun, easy way to get your dog out and active during the summer months. If your dog is social, consider taking them to a dog park for a game of fetch.

During exercise time, make sure you monitor your dog closely for any abnormal changes in breathing or gait. Make sure not too push your dog too hard too fast, and keep his or her exercise pattern as regular as possible. As you start or change your dog's exercise routine, make sure to take note of any eating habit or sleeping pattern changes and notify your veterinarian.

Owner Care

Providing loving, regular attention to your pet is the easiest element to forget but often times is the most crucial to keeping your pet happy and healthy. Loneliness and aggression are common in dogs that have not received proper care and socialization. Dog experts have even found that a dog that has not been socialized in a caring, trustworthy environment by the time they reach sexual maturity may never have close, trusting relationships with people or other animals. As you walk your dog, throw a ball around together or simply curl up together on the couch, be assured that the time together is well-spent and necessary to your dog's health.

The best way to make sure your dog is happy and healthy is to care for it as you do yourself. A nutritious diet, regular exercise and time and attention, coupled with regular veterinary visits, will keep your dog happy throughout its life.

~Ben Anton, 2008
About the Author
The New Dog Bowl: Keep your dog healthy and at a healthy weight by using the DogPause Bowl to reduce your dogs overeating.
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