It has been identified in the PDSA’s Animal Wellbeing (PAW) report that 35% of vet professionals believe obesity will be one of the biggest health and welfare implications if not tackled. Whilst a good diet and exercise are important factors when looking at a dog’s health, there are also other points to consider, in order to help keep your dog healthy. Here we’ve put together 5 tips for a healthy dog:
How we feed ourselves is different to how pets are fed. The human diet is made up of many different food items each day, whilst pets are fed a routine food defined as a ‘complete food’. A complete food has a composition which is sufficient for a daily ration, meeting the pet’s nutritional requirements for everyday health and wellbeing. Each complete food comes with a feeding guide on the amount to feed each day to ensure these requirements are covered daily by the ration.
Other types of food include complementary food. Complementary food typically has higher levels of certain substances which are only suited as part of the daily ration in combination with a complete feed. Many owners provide treats (complementary foods) to their pets however often do not consider reducing the total amount of complete food being provided from the daily ration. As a result this can lead to overfeeding.
Diet goes hand in hand with exercise and it is very important that when feeding a complete diet the individual animals breed, age, and activity level is taken into consideration and pets are exercised daily. Plenty of exercise is great for maintaining your dog’s health and weight, but it is also a great stress reliever and helps to keep their brain active.
Not having enough exercise can often lead to weight gain and sometimes even behavioural problems as dogs may become restless and frustrated. The amount of exercise needed can vary substantially depending on factors such as the age and breed of your dog. The PDSA have a useful tool here to help provide you with a guide.
A pet’s skin should be smooth, and their coat should be clean and in good condition. To help identify if a pet has a problem with its skin, it is important to have knowledge of what healthy skin should look like.
Skin problems can be caused by a number of factors including fleas, food allergies, environmental allergies and dandruff – just to name a few. Your vet will be able to diagnose skin conditions and advise on the appropriate treatment.
The skin and coat form the single largest organ of a pet’s body and it is the first protective barrier from the outside. Together, they go hand in hand to provide protection and immunity for the body to prevent bacteria/viruses from entering the body and to ensure thermo-regulation.
A healthy balanced diet, along with plenty of exercise are crucial to your pet’s health. However, it’s important not to under estimate the need for a comfortable living environment, and appropriate social interaction. Ensuring your dogs have a warm, safe and comfortable place to rest will help them to feel calm and at ease. A regular routine is also an important factor to consider.