For most American families, the day your first welcome your new four-legged friend into your home and hearts is one of the happiest memories you will treasure throughout your lives. And on that day, every dog owner looks forward to providing a long, happy and healthy life for their new furry family member. But what are the steps you should take as a dog owner to ensure you are doing everything possible to bring that dream to reality? And even more importantly, how do you make sure you don’t inadvertently adopt habits that may be hurting your dog?
1. It all begins with your dog’s diet
The adage “You are what you eat” doesn’t apply to just us humans. Something as simple (and seemingly benign) as the choice you make in dog food can have significant consequences on your dog’s overall health and well-being. The great news is it is easier than ever to ensure your dog has a nutritious diet that includes healthy dog food. Read the labels much like you would your food! Keep an eye out for animal by-products, chemical preservatives and substandard ingredients like wheat and corn gluten. Adopting a protein-forward, minimal ingredient dog food formula is the best way to set up your dog for a healthy lifestyle. A healthy dog food uses high-quality ingredients and no additives.
2. Watch your dog’s weight much like you watch your own!
While there are few things cuter than a chubby puppy, all dog owners need to understand the jeopardy they are putting their beloved pup in by not monitoring their dog’s weight. And unfortunately, this country is experiencing a huge upward tick in the rate of obesity among our canine companions. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than half of our dogs are overweight or obese. Even more alarming, is that a whopping 90% of owners are unaware that their dog’s health may be deteriorating due to their weight. By picking the best dog food for your pet’s specific weight needs, owners can do more to manage their dog’s weight.
3. Create an exercise regimen for your dog
Your dog needs a consistent exercise regimen that caters to their breed, size and health need just as much as us humans do. Not only does your dog need regular exercise to manage their weight, but a dog’s overall mental well-being also benefits from exercise too! Make sure you pick the best dog food that will support muscle development and strong bones to supplement your dog’s exercise regimen.
Following these simple tips and adopting healthy habits from that first day will set your dog up for years and years of unconditional love and loyalty – and all dog owners will agree their canine companions deserve nothing less than that.