Five Tips for a Healthy Dog

Lounging on the sofa, belly warming by the fire, chasing birds through the park … it really can be a dog’s life! On average our best friends live between 10 to 13 years - not nice to think about, but a fact of life all the same. So why shouldn’t we make every one of these happy, healthy and filled with adventures! Here’s our top five simple tips for a happy healthy dog.

Hydrated Dog = Healthy Dog An average healthy dog will drink 1/2 to 1 ounce of water per 1/2 kg of body weight per day. This can fluctuate due to exercise, hot weather, certain medications and types of dry dog food. If you notice that your dog is drinking more or less than normal, keep a close eye and visit the vet immediately as this can trigger warning signs. Create a dedicated area where your dog knows to go to for their water supply and buy a water bowl that’s roughly twice the size your dog needs and heavy enough that they don’t knock it over. Wash the bowl out daily with hot soapy water as bacteria can build up around the rim and turn nasty. Don’t forget to bring water for long walks – invest in a collapsible or lightweight bowl for days out.

Clean Teeth, Fresh Breath = Pongy breath – it’s not pleasant for anyone involved. Dogs can suffer from the same dental problems we do and periodontal disease, caused by a build-up of plaque and gum disease, is one of the most common reasons for bad breath in dogs. Try to get into a regular routine of brushing your dog’s teeth early on in their lives – you’ll be thankful for this when they don’t go running behind the sofa every time you brandish a toothbrush. It’s recommended you brush every other day. Make sure you use a toothpaste and toothbrush specially designed for pets (not people!). There’s lots available today. Toothbrushes for dogs are generally softer and smaller. Many companies also now produce little ones that fit over your finger which can be easier to manoeuvre. Whatever you choose, praise your dog throughout and try not to hold them too tightly. Another tip is to let them lick the toothpaste from your finger first so they know what it tastes like then follow this with a natural dog treat as a reward. Ease them in gently and who knows they might actually grow to love the experience!

Doggie adventures aka ‘walkies’ = Exercise helps prevent dogs from piling on the pounds and keeps them from getting bored. It’s a great way to create a bond and also helps your pet get used to being around other dogs – maybe even meet a friend or two! When it comes to determining how much exercise your dog needs, a daily walk is a good rule of thumb. Regardless of size, dogs need at least 30-60 minutes of exercise per day to tone muscles, engage minds and maintain a healthy weight. If you’re concerned about how much exercise your dog can manage due to age or health ailments speak to your vet for advice. Mix it up – try various routes, head to the beach at the weekend for a longer stroll and suss out different parks with lots of new smells and areas to explore. Try a squeaky toy to throw in an area where you know your dog is allowed safely off the lead. REMEMBER - PLEASE DO NOT THROW STICKS – sticks can become lodged in throats and, at worse, puncture organs such lungs. Sean Wensley, president of the British Veterinary Association, reminds dog owners that: "We don't want people to stop owners from playing and exercising with their dogs. We just want them to know they can protect their pets by using safe dog toys." Source BBC Sticks can become lodged at strange angles and splinters and swallowed which can lead to serious infections. Reduce the risk and opt for a chew toy.

Don’t allow fleas to take up residence If you spot fleas on your dog = There’s more than likely hundreds more flea eggs, larvae and pupae in your carpets, beds, cushions, throws and even, garden - horrible, right? Tell fleas you mean business and tackle the problem head on for a healthy dog and happy home. Hoover everywhere and once completed empty and discard the bag Invest in a flea killing spray or powder. Use sprays along skirting boards and surfaces and try powders for carpets and furnishings. Wear a mask where possible to prevent inhaling chemicals. Wash your dog’s throws and beddings at least once a week in a hot wash Apply a topical treatment such as Frontline & Frontline Plus and always read the label carefully as some treat ticks as opposed to fleas. Remember depending on the severity of the infestation, it can take from a weeks to 6 months to say good riddance to these nasties. Stick with it. Try flea shampoos to get rid of the fleas already on your dog’s body. With most you must work a lather into the fur and leave for ten minutes before rinsing away. Always read the instructions and be cautious around your dog’s ears, eyes and mouth. Visit the vet if the problem persists as they can prescribe an oral remedy or injections.

Healthy Diet = Healthy Dog One of the most important factors – a healthy balanced diet. A dog’s digestive system and composition is completely different from humans. As much as those pleading eyes can make you want to give in, do not allow your dog’s diet to be complete composed of scraps from the table. Food for human consumption can be too high in salt and in some cases actually poisonous to dogs. It might seem harmless but NEVER FEED YOUR DOG CHOCOLATE. Chocolate is the most common type of poisoning and is caused by high levels of the stimulant theobromine. Symptoms include diarrhoea, increased temperature and abnormal heart rhythm. Grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants are also toxic to dogs, whether raw or baked in cakes or breads. Again, side effects are also serious and can lead to kidney failure. Consult your vet immediately for any concerns. We recommend a healthy natural dog food that is free from preservatives, additives and chemicals to promote your dog’s health. A healthy dog diet includes a balance of protein, fibre, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fats and oils. Together these factors will contribute to healthy muscle development, a strong immune system, healthy skin, soft coat and tons of energy for a happy healthy dog. Naturo are committed to producing a range of natural dog food and natural dog treats that promotes optimum dog health. We have a range of gluten, wheat and grain free dog food range to keep even the fussiest eater happy and healthy.