10 Ways to Keep Your Dog Healthy

As your dog gets used to exercise, extend the daily walk or run to twenty to thirty minutes. Alternatively, take your dog for a swim - taking a dip in a pool or lake is a great and alternative way for your dog to exercise.

1. Water

Water is the basis for life so make sure your dog always have access to fresh high quality water. Change the water twice daily and always carry fresh water with you when out and about.

2. Diet

I don't promote any method of feeding (although I do prefer home-prepared diets), but I must stress the importance of balanced nutrition or it will cause your dog serious trouble.

3. Super foods

Some foods that are especially great for keeping your pet fit and healthy and when you can, you should try to include them in your dogs' diet. Among the best super foods are eggs, mackerel, goat or sheep yogurt, chicken and turkey, kale and spinach, broccoli, carrots, sweet potato, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries and apple.

4. Dangerous foods

There are certain foods that your dogs should never eat such as chocolate, grapes and raisins, caffeine, madadamia nuts, alcohol, fruit pips and seeds, cooked bones, onions and leeks.*

5. Lose the fat

All dogs of any size should have an hourglass figure so stand directly above your dog and see if you can identify it. Place your hands on the side of your dog's chest and you should be able to feel the ribs.

If you're worried your dog is on the chubby side, the first thing to do is take a trip to the vet and make sure there are no medical reasons behind your dog's weight.

If your dog is only slightly overweigh, ditching high calorie snacks and cutting down meal portions might be sufficient.

For dogs who need to loose 10% or more of their body weight, I recommend switching to a dog food designed for weight loss.

6. Exercise

Daily exercise helps prevent obesity and health problems. Go for walks together, jog, swim, register for agility or frisbee classes. I have even seen dog-dancing classes

If your dog is overweight or just starting exercise, then you need to develop a sensible exercise regime.

Start with a five or ten minute run-around in a park. If your dog is small, chasing a ball or toy round the house should be enough.

You can also ask your dog to sit, lie down and sit again - it's like a doggie sit-up.

As your dog gets used to exercise, extend the daily walk or run to twenty to thirty minutes. Alternatively, take your dog for a swim - taking a dip in a pool or lake is a great and alternative way for your dog to exercise. It makes a change from running around and also takes stress off the bones.

7. Stay trim

Feed at least two meals a day. Frequent, smaller meals do a better job of keeping hunger at bay than one large meal.

Keep the treats to a minimum. Reward sometimes with a food treat but more often with praise and belly rubs

If your dog begs for food, take a toy out and encourage play or give some praise and affection.

It can be tempting to feed your dog bits of food while you're cooking or eating. Don't - keep your dog out of the kitchen when you cook or eat.

Running for charity is a fun way to bond with your dog, stay fit and of course raise some much needed funds.

8. Oral health

Brushing promotes good dental hygiene and helps your dog avoid problems such as tartar, gum disease, tooth loss, infection, and bad breath.

Invest in some doggy toothpaste and a toothbrush. Ideally the teeth need brushing every day to keep them in the best condition.

If you dog goes crazy when you try to brush the teeth, using a cloth as a finger cot allows you to feel your way around your dogs mouth making sure to rub both teeth and gums.

9. Visit the vet

Annual check-ups can help identify any new problems before they become serious and ensure vaccinations are up-to-date.

This is also an ideal opportunity for you to discuss dietary changes or needs, weight and body condition, oral health and learn about simple signs that might warrant attention.

10. Have fun

Spend time with your dog and make him part of your life. Talk to him, play with him, touch him, take him places, and include him in activities.

Teach new tricks such as 'search and find', 'high-five' and frisbee catching. Or why not build your own agility course.

*For a full list of which foods to feed and which to avoid, please download our app Doglicious

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