Are you wondering how to maintain your healthy dog? Pet owners often ask their vet what they should be doing to help keep their animals healthy. The first thing to remember is you should take your pet to a veterinarian for check-ups at least once a year. They should follow their vets’ recommendations about vaccines and parasite preventatives in order to protect them from avoidable diseases.
Pet owners also should choose a diet that provides the proper nutrition to maximize their dogs’ health, performance, quality of life and longevity. Good nutrition and plenty of exercise are the best ways to keep pets healthy and trim.
About a quarter of pet parents have some work to do in this area, as recent studies report that one out of every four pets is overweight. And by some other estimates, about half of all pets are not at their ideal weights. Sometimes, though, it’s difficult to know from looking at a pet if it needs to shed a few pounds.
Determining a dog’s ideal weight can be challenging. For example, English Bulldogs and Italian Greyhounds are about the same heights but weigh contrasting amounts because of their different body types.
One of the things veterinarians assess during annual exams is weight. They can determine if a dog is a healthy weight by calculating its body condition score, which involves evaluating a dog’s body composition and rating it on a numerical scale of either 1 to 5 or 1 to 9. Ideal weights are represented by the number 3 in the shorter scale and represented by 4 or 5 in the longer scale.
If a dog weighs too much, veterinarians can rule out medical conditions before attributing it to excess calories. They can establish a pet’s goal weight and give pet owners a plan to help their dogs lose those extra pounds.
Vets typically recommend increased activity – more walks or playing fetch – and limiting treats. Dog treats are an important tool used in positive reinforcement dog training, but pet parents should use them sparingly. They have calories and, of course, are not meant to replace dog food.
With proper nutrition, regular exercise and routine veterinary visits, pet parents can help ensure their dogs live long, healthy and happy lives and in doing so might just help themselves do the same thing.