You know what they say, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” — and when it comes to your dog, you’ll want them to be as happy and healthy as possible. That is why you should implement key strategies into your dog’s life, beginning when they’re a puppy.
Of course, these strategies are most effective when implemented during the early stages of a dog’s development. However, it is never too late to focus on your dog’s health, making changes that will impact their well-being and longevity.
Consider These 4 Health Strategies to Protect Your Growing Puppy Today
Unfortunately, our four-legged friends age much more rapidly than we do. This means that in one human year, a dog will age much more rapidly than we would, increasing their risk of potential health complications. This is why preventative measures are so important.
From regular examinations to optimal dental care, it is important that you maintain these health strategies throughout your puppy’s life. The following strategies are imperative when aiming to protect your dog long-term.
1. Prevent Fleas
Fleas are essentially parasites that live on your dog, feeding on their blood. Being more than just irritating, fleas can actually cause a number of health issues for your dog (and pets in general). Most commonly, a dog will react due to an allergy. However, fleas can also cause internal infections.
There are a number of solutions available, including Sentinel. This once-a-month tablet helps prevent everything from fleas to hookworm, whipworm to heartworm. If you are trying to get rid of ticks or mites, please refer to this chart.
2. Be Proactive Against Heartworm
Speaking of heartworm, this is one area you cannot ignore. This disease can be fatal and is caused by worms that live in the lungs, heart, and blood vessels of not just dogs but also cats, ferrets, and a number of other mammals.
In this case, prevention is critical. Once a dog becomes a host, if left untreated, heartworms will continue to mate and produce offspring. Sadly, this can cause long-term damage to critical organs, impacting a dog’s health and quality of life. Once again, preventative medication is available.
3. Provide Proper Nutrition
Shockingly, it is estimated that between 20 to 60 percent of American dogs and cats are not just overweight or obese, but are also at risk of developing Type 2 diabetes and heart disease. This is directly linked to the foods they eat. Of course, your puppy will have different nutritional needs in comparison to a senior dog.
Here are a few great guides:
- What to Feed a Puppy and How to Care for It
- How to Choose the Best Dog Food to Prevent Obesity
- What to Feed a Senior Dog
Overall, you want to feed your puppy a wholesale diet that is void of fillers and chemicals. Be mindful of the food you purchase and ensure that your growing pup is getting all of the vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and enzymes they need. Feed them what is biologically appropriate, be aware of their changing needs as they age.
4. Practice Positive Skin Health
Your puppy will likely be exposed to a number of environmental irritants, which can cause allergies. From ringworm to yeast infections, there are many ways that your dog’s skin can be affected, leading to itching, discomfort, or more serious complications. You can learn more about the top 10 skin conditions in dogs (and how to treat them) here.
Groom your dog, washing them at least 1-2 a month. Use a hypoallergenic shampoo and brush his/her coat frequently. As suggested above, you should also consider flea and tick preventative measures, while paying particular attention to artificial ingredients in your dog’s food.
Focus on long-term health when your dog is a puppy, giving them the best possible chance of having a long, healthy life. After all, Roger Caras said it best, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”