Wellness

Caring for a Dog: How to Keep Them Healthy

Little boy caring for a dog.

Little boy hugging and showing affection and love for his best friend, a cuddly golden retriever.Most pet owners lavish time and money on their dogs. They buy special dog food and treats and go for walks each day. They also make sure their dogs are healthy by seeing the veterinarian each year. Dogs make great lifetime companions and they’re always happy to see you. So keep them healthy. Here are some helpful tips about caring for a dog’s dental, vision and hearing health.

Keep teeth brushed and clean

Dogs can develop problems with their teeth and gums, just like their humans. If ignored, their teeth can get infected, causing severe health problems. Here are four steps for caring for a dog’s teeth and gums:

  1. Offer healthy food – Buy crunchy dog food rich in vitamins and minerals. These foods require extra chewing, which helps keep plaque from sticking to your dog’s teeth.
  2. Brush their teeth daily – Apply a dab of dog toothpaste to a soft-bristled toothbrush or rubber finger brush. Gently swish the brush around your dog’s teeth. Your dog will enjoy the tasty flavor of the toothpaste, making it a fun activity. Daily brushing also will keep their breath fresh. Watch this video for tips on brushing your dog’s teeth.
  3. Smell their breath – A foul odor could be a symptom of tooth decay. If not treated, the tooth may become abscessed. If this happens, the vet will need to do surgery to remove it. Caring for a dog includes keeping their teeth clean.
  4. See the veterinarian – Schedule regular exams for a checkup and teeth cleaning. Also, start caring for a dog’s teeth when it’s a puppy. This way, it will be a normal part of the day’s activities.

Keeping your dog’s teeth healthy is essential for good health. Also, look for signs of vision and hearing problems that may impact their quality of life.

Watch for vision problems

As dogs age, their vision may decline, and their eyes may change in appearance. But caring for a dog means helping them adjust to vision changes. Here are four signs that your dog has a vision problem:

  1. Won’t catch or chase like they usually do.
  2. Fails to recognize familiar people.
  3. Bumps into furniture or even their water bowl.
  4. Avoids climbing stairs or jumping up on furniture; sleeps only on the floor or in their bed.

Teach your aging dog new verbal commands to help them cope with vision changes. Guide your dog during walks and play gentle games in the house. Veterinarians say by caring for a dog through vision changes, you still can enjoy many years of love and fun together.

Look for hearing changes

Dogs also may have hearing difficulties as they get older. Hearing loss occurs when the ear and nerve systems are damaged. Help dogs cope with hearing loss. Talk at a higher pitch and use facial expressions. When leaving the house, tell your dog, so they aren’t upset if they discover you’re not home.

As you’re caring for an aging dog, you may notice these signs of hearing loss. Your dog may bark more because their hearing has changed. They may sleep more soundly. Or they may jump up in surprise when someone walks into the room. If you notice any of these changes in your dog’s behavior, you may want to contact your veterinarian.

Owning a dog provides several health benefits. Learn more about how a pet can improve your life.

Sources:
AVMA
Petlab Co.
Modern Dog Magazine

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