#1 Take your dog to the vet at least once a year
Annual checkups are important for your pet’s wellbeing, so it’s a good idea to take your dog to the vet at least once a year. If your dog is elderly or has a medical condition, they’ll need to visit the vet more often. Speak with your vet for advice on how often your pet needs a checkup.
The vet will make sure your dog’s vaccinations are up to date, which will help protect them against disease. They’ll also check your dog’s weight, dental care and overall health.
Note: Annual checkups help look after your dog’s general health, but if you ever have any concerns or queries about your dog’s health, please contact your vet without delay.
#2 Feed your dog a healthy and nutritious diet
Your vet will be able to help you choose a suitable diet for your dog, based on their individual health needs. Most of your dog’s diet should consist of premium-quality dry or wet food. Dry food has the added benefit of helping to keep your dog’s teeth clean.
Remember that some foods are toxic to dogs. See our factsheet for a list of food you should not give to your dog.
#3 Keep your dog’s teeth clean
Looking after your dog’s teeth and gums can help prevent dental disease.
A daily brush will make a difference to your dog’s dental health. Only do this if your dog comfortably allows you to brush their teeth, and remember to never use human toothpaste, as this can cause harm. Ask your vet about toothpaste made especially for pets.
If your dog is prone to dental disease or has had dental problems in the past, consider feeding them a specially-developed range of dental food. You can buy this at vet clinics and some pet supply stores.
A dental check will form part of your dog’s annual vet check, but it’s still a good idea to check their teeth at least once a month. Regular checks mean you’ll quickly notice any changes to your dog’s teeth or gums, which could indicate dental disease.
Signs of dental disease in dogs include:
If your dog shows any of these signs, please see your vet.
#4 Stay fit together
Daily exercise can help your dog maintain a healthy weight and prevent obesity. Plus, it’s a great way to stay fit together. Aim for around 30 minutes of exercise per day with your dog.
Taking your dog for a walk on the lead is a great and simple option, and you can vary your route so your dog doesn’t get bored. Walking is also a great source of mental stimulation, as there will be new sights and scents along the way. On days when you’re unable to get out for a walk with your dog, try to schedule some playtime together in the backyard.
#5 Have fun with enrichment
Enrichment is a great way to keep your dog mentally stimulated and can prevent boredom. Games, puzzles and toys are simple ways to keep your dog entertained. Take a look at our factsheet for at-home enrichment ideas that are easy, cheap, and fun.
Frank Samways Veterinary Clinic is open as an essential service during Stage 4 restrictions. Taking your pet to the vet is permitted. For more information and to make an appointment, visit the clinic web page.