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A reader of my Healthy Happy Dogs newsletter today asked me what steps she could take to help identify and prevent dog health problems before they develop into a tragedy.
Sometimes a dog may seem to be the picture of health one day, but suddenly go off their food, and the next thing you know, a terminal illness is diagnosed and your dog has only weeks, or even days, to live.
There are several steps you can take to both prevent dog health problems from arising in the first place, and to help identify dog health issues at a time when successful treatment is still possible.
This list is not exhaustive, but I put it together today in response to my reader’s query.
Leave me your comments below if you have any other suggested steps.
There are a few things that I recommend in order to ensure the health and longevity of your dog:
1. Take your dog for annual checkups with your vet (not for vaccinations – just for checkups)
2. Make an informed decision on whether to vaccinate your adult dog – see information here – http://www.HealthyHappyDogs.com/Vaccinate – and several other links at the bottom of that page for further information.
3. Try to use alternatives to conventional veterinary medicine wherever possible – of course in consultation with your vet. Steroids, antibiotics and other drugs can cause serious problems, particularly with the immune system. There are excellent natural products even for serious conditions such as canine heart disease, canine diabetes, dog kidney problems, and many more.
4. If your dog has had steroids or several courses of antibiotics or regular drugs of any description, in the past, or just as a good preventative for immune system problems, boost your dog’s immunity.
5. Stop feeding commercial dog food right now.
6. Feed only fresh, raw food wherever possible.
7. If raw food is not possible or you prefer not to feed it, feed a home cooked diet, or feed a high quality, premium dog food.
8. Give a good dog vitamin supplement.
9. Prevent the deadly Heartworm if you live in an area where Heartworm is a potential problem – but don’t use the chemicals – use a natural heartworm prevention.
10. Give your dog plenty of regular exercise.
11. Spend quality time with your dog – yes, I’m convinced it does make a difference.
12. For older dogs – say 10 and over for healthy dogs, but you can start at 7 or 8 if your dog has not always enjoyed excellent health – have a regular (annual) blood workup to pick up any potential problems that the vet may not find in a physical examination.
If you follow all these steps, your dogs are much more likely to lead long, healthy lives, and with the precautionary annual checkups and blood tests for older dogs, any problems are much more likely to be picked up.
Nothing is foolproof, but these measures can definitely help.
What do you think?