5 Things That Will Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy

1. Water.  You probably already know that dogs need fresh, clean water at all times.  All of us do.  But if you want to remove as many toxins as possible from your dog’s water and do everything possible to keep him healthy, think about using a water filter.  Tap water can contain many unhealthy chemicals such as lead and low levels of prescription medications.  A water filter or purifier can help remove as many toxins from the water as possible and make the water healthier for you and your dog.  Where I live we have good tap water but not everywhere has such safe water.

2. Food.  There are an amazing number of dog foods on the market today.  Unfortunately, many of them are not made from very healthy ingredients.  They may technically pass government standards but they can contain ingredients that you wouldn’t want your dog to eat.  You can choose healthier food for your dog by doing some research and learning to read dog food labels.  Look for foods that contain more meats than fillers.  Most of the better foods contain much less corn and other cereal products.  It’s not necessary to go completely grain-free but you should look for foods that have named meat sources, such as lamb, lamb meal, chicken, chicken meal, and so on.

You should also avoid foods that contain the preservative ethoxyquin. This same ingredient is used in making tires. It’s not something that you want your dog to eat. Instead, look for natural preservatives such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C, citric acid and rosemary. These natural preservatives all have antioxidant properties and are healthier for your dog.

3. Vet care.  Good vet care is, of course, important for your dog’s long term health.  This means flea control, heart-worm prevention and receiving the necessary vaccinations.  However, all of these issues are the subject of some debate.  Flea control and heart-worm prevention often involve using strong chemicals.  Some people feel that pets are being over-vaccinated.  You should familiarize yourself with these issues and discuss them with your veterinarian.  We are not advising you to leave off topical flea control or chew-able monthly heart-worm prevention.  Heart-worms can kill dogs and flea infestation can make a dog’s life (and their human’s) miserable. Vaccinations are necessary, at least at some intervals.  We are recommending that you do further reading and talk to your vet about what is necessary for the health of your dog.

4. Exercise.  It’s very important that your dog gets the proper exercise.  As much as 40 percent of the dogs in the United States, Australia and Canada are considered to be overweight or obese.  This is often because owners over-feed them, give them too many treats and table scraps, and because the dogs don’t get enough exercise.  Taking your dog out for a daily walk is a good way to help your dog stay in shape.  Add a weekly run and your dog will be a much healthier dog.  Dog sports are also a good idea for exercise and fitness.

5. Spend time with your dog.  All of the other things you do for your dog’s health — providing him with good water, food, vet care and exercise — will be meaningless if you don’t spend time with your dog.  Enjoying your time together can do more than almost anything else to keep your dog healthy and happy.  Dogs have been shown to have a beneficial effect on human health.  The same is true of humans and dogs — we have a beneficial effect on their health.  Just petting a dog can improve the way he feels and acts. Spend time with your dog and he will be a happier, healthier dog throughout his life.

Mark Mansfield
 

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