Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Top tips for a healthy, happy dog

(ARA) – No matter how many canine companions you have or what their ages are, every day is a new opportunity to make their lives happier and healthier. Keep a few simple tips in mind and you’re sure to get four paws up.

Food and water
It’s crucial to always keep a bowl of water available for your dog to make sure they stay properly hydrated, but not just any water will do. Fill your dog’s bowl with fresh water every single day and remember to clean the water bowl regularly to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that could sicken your furry friend. For healthier, great-tasting water, use a pitcher filtration system.

Equally important is the dog food in the bowl next to the water dish. Eating poor-quality food on a daily basis can dramatically impact your dog’s health in the same way eating fried foods frequently can negatively affect your overall health. “Do your research and read labels before deciding on which food to feed your dog,” says nationally renowned veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker. “If some of the first ingredients listed are proteins, then you’ve found a quality recipe.”

Nutro Ultra food for dogs features the Ultrassential Superfood Blend. Superfoods are nutrient-dense whole foods containing high levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Common superfoods that are beneficial for both humans and canines include tomatoes, spinach, blueberries, carrots and flaxseed. “Some of the benefits of feeding ‘superfoods’ to dogs can include: a healthy skin and coat which comes from essential fatty acids, lean muscle mass from high-quality proteins, strong teeth and bones from calcium and a strong immune system from antioxidant-rich foods,” says Becker.

When it’s time to treat your best buddy, make sure the treats are high-quality and made specifically for dogs. Remember that treats add calories to your dog’s diet so don’t give too many. Human food can be unhealthy for canines (even deadly, in the case of certain foods like chocolate, grapes and raisins), but if you can’t resist a “people” snack, try giving him a few fresh vegetables like a small carrot or green bean. “A good guideline is that treats should not make up more than 10 percent of your dog’s diet,” says Becker.

Playtime
The average dog needs about 20-30 minutes of daily exercise or vigorous activity. Just like humans, inactive dogs can suffer from weight gain, muscle loss and even depression and disease. Take your dog for at least one walk every day (it’s good for you too), run around the yard or at an off-leash dog park and have fun playing fetch or tug of war.

To help keep playtime fun, make sure your dog knows basic commands (sit, stay and drop it, for example) and be consistent in using them. Encourage good behavior with lots of positive attention and correct mistakes immediately by redirecting your dog to the correct behavior. Never physically punish your dog as it can lead to aggression and fear biting.

Health
Most cities require dogs to have their shots and be licensed. Make sure to bring your dog to the veterinarian annually (or as recommended) and keep him up to date on shots and medications. Brush your dog’s teeth regularly (at least once per week) to prevent gum disease, the buildup of plaque and costly canine dental procedures down the line.

For more information, visit UltraHolistic.com.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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