For myself, having pets often is for very self-centered reasons. They bring me joy and amusement and they have their “jobs” on our farm/ranch whether it be to work the cows and sheep or to keep watch of the yard (a self-appointed job really). So as a veterinarian and lover of dogs, I thought what are 5 things I really wish my clients would do for their dogs TODAY and what does my own pack need right now.
Five Things to Do for your Dog TODAY
- Go for a walk. Get out of the house and yard and I promise it will be not only good for your dog but for yourself as well. (5 Benefits of Walks with your Dog). Your pet will benefit from the exercise (a tired dog is a good dog right?) and also the environmental stimulation of new sights, sounds, and aromas. We too often assume a yard is enough but in some cases it just becomes a prison yard! Let your dog see and socialize with the bigger world. Just like we need fresh air and exercise for our emotional and physical health so do our pets.
- Lift the Lip. Dental health is so overlooked but I hear time and time again how an older dog feels like a puppy again after we treat years of pain and disease or of the dog with the fractured tooth that now treated is playing again, picking up toys, and eating better. If we wait for a complaint from our pets we have waited too long. The stats are shocking…. by the age of two years old, 80% of dogs will have some form of periodontal disease. Does your pet have dental disease? Click here . If you see calculus or tarter, red and inflamed gums, smell odor, or see fractured or mobile teeth see your vet.
- Throw Away the Food Bowl. I have long done away with food bowls and have replaced them with treat dispensing toys and creative “hunts” for food. My own dogs can consume their breakfast in a time that would make a professional eating contestant jealous. (Throw Away that Bowl) By having them “work” for their food it is engaging their minds, slowing their intake, and leading to portion control.
- Feel those Ribs. When you rub your hands along your pets rib cage it should feel much like the back of your hand with each rib clearly felt. If your pet has a little extra cushion or a poorly defined waist line now is the time to get the weight off. Purina did a landmark study and showed those dogs fed to a lean body condition score lived 1.8 years longer than those that were moderately overweight. Click here for more info
- Give your Dog a Massage and check for lumps, bumps, sores, or other abnormalities. Early detection can save lives. Chase Away K9 Cancer has this great handout outlining monthly cancer checks. Cancer Check How-To