IF you’re an owner of a dog, you will know how rewarding and great the experience can be, but it’s also a lot of hard work.
From playtime to feeding, there’s quite a list of daily tasks to keep in mind – but luckily, vets have revealed their top nine insights to Insider.
Bad breath is unpleasant for everyone involved – but whilst your pet might be unaware of it, this should always be checked out by a professional almost immediately.
“Bad breath or halitosis can mean your pet has dental disease, which needs to be addressed by your veterinarian,” explained Yolanda Ochoa, veterinarian and regional veterinary director of Fetch My Vet.
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“Dental disease is treated with dental radiographs, antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, and scaling and polishing the teeth under anesthesia.”
Another important tip is to rest the urge to give your beloved pet breath mints – these, she said, often include the sweetener xylitol, which is found to be toxic to dogs.
This applies to all sugar-free mints and breath freshening products.
WASHING WATER AND FOOD BOWLS
We understand that your day-to-day life is oftentimes too busy to even find a moment to just sit down, but that doesn’t mean you should let your dog eat from a dirty bowl.
“Food and water bowls should be cleaned with hot water and soap daily,” said veterinarian Gary Richter.
When it comes to toys and bedding, these, according to him, should be washed at least monthly – more if they get dirty quickly.
Not only such cleaning practices will remove unpleasant odors, but can also help to control fleas, which frequently end up in bedding.
BREEDS WITH FLAT FACES
As adorable as they are, Brachycephalic breeds – Boston Terrier, pug, bulldog, and Pekingese – are prone to breathing difficulties and other medical issues.
“Brachycephalic dog breeds have impaired airways due to their anatomy and therefore may have breathing issues, especially when hot, under stress, or recovering from anesthesia,” pointed out Yolanda Ochoa.
For this reason, it is highly important that owners of these breeds regularly check up on their pets during the warmer months or after heavy exercise.
If you detect any current wheezing or shortness of breath, always contact your vet.
If your dog has been around for a while – or you’ve welcomed them into the family from a shelter- chances are the pet has already been vaccinated a few times.
However, Sara Ochoa, veterinarian and consultant for DogLab, explained that regular vaccinations and booster shots are a very important part of pet care.
“Vaccines are not simply administered once.
”Your dog needs boosters for their vaccines.
”Depending on your local laws, your dog will need vaccines every year,” she said.
It might be the most gut-churning habit, but, according to Sara Ochoa, finding your dog devouring a poop is not something to worry about.
”When a dog eats their own poop, it’s not because of a lack of nutrition in their diet.
”Dogs are just gross and like the taste of other dogs’ stool,” Ochoa explained.
However, she also added, that if the sight is too unpleasant, there are a couple of products on the market that you can apply to their stool to help them learn to stop eating it.
A FULLY HYPOALLERGENIC DOG – A MYTH
Contrary to the common belief, Amanda Landis-Hanna, a veterinarian with PetSmart Charities, told that all dog breeds spread allergy-causing proteins through their saliva, urine, and skin.
Often carried on the fur, a large, fluffy dog that sheds constantly is very likely to trigger a strong reaction in person with allergies.
“Though no dog is fully hypoallergenic, you can consider getting a dog that doesn’t shed as much.
”You might even want to get a hairless dog like a Xoloitzcuintli, also known as the Mexican hairless dog,” said Landis-Hanna.
In recent years, people have finally started to pay much-needed attention to one’s mental health.
But it’s not just humans – Landis-Hanna claimed that pets need looking after just as much.
”Regular physical exercise and good nutrition is important, but pet parents can often forget that dogs need mental exercise just as much as physical to keep them mentally sharp.”
The expert suggested dividing up your dog’s meal and hiding it in various places – this will encourage them to look for it.
Another tip is finding certain toys and games, for instance, hide-and-seek, that will be a worthwhile exercise to the pup’s memory.
STRUCTURE AND ROUTINE
We understand that you might want to spoil the new dog – this is particularly difficult to resist when it’s a puppy – but these vets emphasized on the importance of a strict routine.
“Many new pet parents don’t realize that dogs crave structure, routine, boundaries, and rules,” said Landis-Hanna.
”When dogs don’t understand, they feel uncertain — and some dogs might hide until they feel a little more comfortable.
“Sensitive rules help dogs feel secure in their environment.”
She explained that being consistent with training and providing a routine helps your dog to understand what behavior is expected.
DIFFERENT BREEDS – DIFFERENT NEEDS
Although all dogs, just like humans, need love, care, and a safe environment, each breed has a slightly different physical requirement.
“Different dog breeds have different needs, and different personalities have varying needs as well.
”All dogs need exercise, but how much and for how long depends on factors such as age and breed,” added Landis-Hanna.
For instance, she explained,
For example, she explained, the majority of dogs require a minimum of two 15-minute leash walks a day – but more active breeds will benefit with an additional physical activity.
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