5 Basic Things Your Dog’s Vet Wants You to Know

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Keeping an open dialogue with your dog’s vet is important. Here, a few important things you need to know.

When it comes to health, a veterinarian is your dog’s best friend.

However, despite vets’ extensive knowledge in the field of canine welfare, many dog owners still put up a fight when they’re told how to properly care for their pet. No one doubts you love your pooch, but listening to professional advice is the best way to maintain your dog’s overall health.

Read on for a list of five basic things your vet wants you to know about caring for your dog.

1. Annual physical checkups are a must
Your dog can’t tell you how he’s feeling, therefore annual checkups should never be skipped. In some cases, it’s the only way to know what’s doing on with your pet, internally.

Even though we’d like to believe we understand our dogs through their body language and other forms of communication, there will always be times when your dog is unable to illustrate when they’re struggling with an ailment. For example, certain forms of cancer are invisible to the human eye and tests are required to identify them—which is something that may only be discovered during an annual exam.

Regardless of how healthy your dog may appear, taking him to the vet at least once a year is important. It’s the best way to ensure your dog lives a long and happy life.

2. Pay attention to the warning signs of serious illnesses
These signs are not always obvious, which is why vets expect you to understand how to properly identify symptoms of illness, and how to react in an emergency situation.

For example, something as common as diarrhea or lethargy can actually be an indicator of a more serious life-threatening illness. Bowel obstruction is one of the leading causes of fatalities in dogs and, often, owners aren’t given much warning before their pet passes away. So, if your dog experiences runny stool, vomiting, lethargy, or any other ailments out of the ordinary, you should take him to see your veterinarian. Other symptoms to watch for include sudden weight loss, a change in urinary habits and stiffness of the joints.

RELATED: Your Pet’s Health: 9 Symptoms You Shouldn’t Ignore 

If you’ve noticed that your dog “doesn’t seem like himself” don’t brush it under the carpet—this could be a sign of serious illness and you should take him to his vet immediately. Home remedies can only go so far!

If a specialist is needed, your vet is the one to refer you if they feel further exploration is necessary, but it’s always a good idea to research ones in your area and seek out client reviews and additional information.

3. Proper nutrition is vital
This is the single most important aspect of any dog’s health. Yet somehow, this tends to be overlooked by pet parents who’ve grown accustomed to the idea that dogs only need basic Kibble, table scraps and store-bought treats.

What your veterinarian, and other dog owners, want you to know about nutrition is that a healthy dog equals a happy dog. If you feed your pup properly, ensuring that he receives all the nutrients he requires and maintains an appropriate body weight for his breed, then he will live a longer life.

If your dog is properly fed and cared for, you will spend far less money on vet bills and medication in the long run.

If you’re unsure of what’s best to feed your dog, consult your vet! They’ll recommend a diet that suits your dog’s everyday needs.

4. All dogs need exercise
No matter the breed, age, size or energy level your pet, all dogs need exercise—even if you consider your pooch a “house pet.”

It can be as simple as taking him for a walk around the block or on a treadmill for 10 minutes. If you have a low energy dog, or a pooch with health issues, light activity, like a short leisurely walk or a gentle game of fetch at the dog park, is a great way to keep them moving.

For more energetic breeds or developing dogs, frequent exercise is necessary to maintain their health. If you’re unable to exercise your dog regularly, there are many companies available that would provide that service for you.

5. Dental health is more important than you think
Dental health is often overlooked by dog owners.

Like humans, much of a dogs health-related issues revolve around teeth. If a dog is suffering from dental complications, this will affect every single aspect of their overall health. Dogs rely on their mouths for more things than humans—eating, drinking, communicating, outdoor exploring, playing and panting. Poor dental health will affect your dog’s ability to perform these daily tasks, and may prevent him from receiving proper nutrition due to a sore and tender mouth.

If left for too long, dogs will likely have to undergo extensive dental work in the future, which usually involves anesthetic (and a risk of heart failure), not to mention a steep hit to your wallet.

So, brush your dog’s teeth regularly and bring him for an annual dental checkup.

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