As pet owners, it is our responsibility to ensure our furry friends are safe, healthy, and happy. The American Pet Products Association estimates that 69 million households in the United States own a dog. This statistic reflects the amount of love and care that pet owners have for their canine companions. The Mintel group conducted a study that showed an increase in the humanization of pets, with owners feeding them vitamins and other supplements and nutritious snacks to promote good health.
From feeding them healthy wet dog food to staying up-to-date on your dog’s vaccines, there are several ways that you can protect your pooch. Whether you’re a seasoned pet parent or a first-time dog owner, the following tips can help keep your dog safe and healthy.
The first step to protecting your dog is to feed them a healthy diet. A balanced diet gives your dog all the essential nutrients they need to thrive and keep their body and mind in peak condition. It is important to avoid feeding your dog table scraps or human food, as many human foods are toxic to dogs, like onions, garlic, and chocolate. Table scraps are also high in calories, contributing to obesity and other health problems. When selecting wet and dry dog food, as well as treats, supplements, and freeze dried dog food toppings, look for one suitable for your dog’s age, breed, and activity level.
Staying up-to-date on vaccinations is another essential way to protect your dog from serious and potentially life-threatening diseases. There are several core vaccines, including DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus) and rabies. There are also vaccines that aren’t required, like those for influenza and Lyme disease. Depending on where you live, how old your dog is, and how healthy he or she is in general, your vet may suggest those vaccines. Puppies typically need core vaccines every 6 weeks for their first 4 months of life, then again at 12 months old. Vaccines are not just given to puppies, and most vaccines require more than a single dose. Dogs need booster shots at regular intervals to maintain protection against diseases.
Leaving your dog in a parked car is a dangerous practice. Cars can quickly become hot boxes, even on seemingly mild days, putting your dog at risk for heatstroke and other serious health problems. A car parked for an hour in the sun on a 95°F day can reach over 116°F, while the dashboard and steering wheel can hit even higher temperatures that can cause skin burns. Dogs cannot sweat, making it difficult to regulate their body temperature. As a result, dogs left in parked cars are at risk of suffering from heatstroke, which can cause severe organ damage and even death.
To get your dog to come back to you, you have to be more interesting than everyone else. This is an extremely important behavior to teach your dog because it keeps them safe and allows them to enjoy and benefit from off-leash exercise. When your dog responds when called, it is less likely to engage in dangerous behaviors like running into traffic. To train your dog, start by offering a reward, such as high-quality dog treats, praise, or play, every time your dog comes to you when called. Begin training in a controlled environment with few distractions, such as your backyard, and then move to places with more distractions, like dog parks or the street.
Securing your yard is crucial for protecting your dog in several ways. A secure yard helps keep your dog safe from potential dangers such as other animals, traffic, or hazards like sharp objects or poisonous plants. Install a fence or a GPS tracker on your dog’s collar to secure your yard. Invest in a dog enclosure for smaller breeds or keep them indoors when you aren’t home to supervise them. However, it is important to walk your dog two to three times a day for at least 10 to 15 minutes to prevent boredom and destructive behavior.
To keep your dog from getting hurt, it is important to keep cleaning products out of reach. Many cleaning products contain harmful chemicals, like peroxide or chlorine bleach, that can be toxic to dogs if they are ingested or come into contact with their skin. When these products are eaten, they can cause serious health problems like vomiting, diarrhea, trouble breathing, and even death. Keep cleaning products out of reach by storing them in a locked cabinet or placing them on a high shelf. Make sure all products have the right labels, and learn the signs of poisoning, such as seizures, loss of appetite, or changes in behavior.
Protecting your dog is a crucial aspect of being a responsible pet owner. Taking care of your dog and keeping an eye on his environment can help him live a long, happy, and healthy life. Remember, your dog depends on you for safety and comfort; taking these steps shows your love and commitment to your pet. From feeding them healthy food to staying up-to-date on vaccinations, to training them to come when called and keeping your yard secure, these simple steps can help ensure your dog’s safety and well-being.