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Keeping your Pet Healthy & Happy

Just like us, our pets also have basic needs and it's important that we meet these to ensure they lead a happy and healthy life. As dog owners we know that food, exercise and cuddles are all ways to our dog's hearts, but there's also more that we should be doing for them. Keep reading... and make sure you keep your dog smiling.

Here are some top tips for keeping your pet healthy and happy:

1. Provide a nutritious and well-balanced diet

Feeding your pet the right amount and type of food helps them to maintain a healthy weight. Having an overweight pet can be very dangerous to their well-being. Obesity can affect all dogs but the main causes are eating too much or not exercising enough. It's also important to keep an eye on how many treats you give your pet. If you have concerns about your dogs weight, you can contact your vet to see how a change in diet may help. It's also important to make sure that your pet gets enough fresh water and always have access to their water bowl.

2. Give your dog plenty of exercise

Pets should have plenty of space to run around, have fun and exercise. Pets who aren’t active enough are at an increased risk of health issues. It's also important that they are mentally stimulated and that you dedicate time to play with them. Providing toys to play with, hiding treats, building obstacle courses and practicing new tricks are great ways to keep your dog interested and engaged.

3. Make sure their teeth are in tiptop condition

Humans need to regularly visit the dentist and your pet needs check-ups too. If you can, brush your dogs teeth, or try and ensure a diet that will help keep their teeth healthy. You can also buy foods, treats and chews that can help to reduce plaque and tartar.

4. Regularly groom your dog

Regular grooming helps to improve your pets coat and keep it free of matting and knotting. Grooming your pet also involves keeping your dogs nails trimmed and giving regular baths. Grooming is also a good way to keep an eye on changes in your pet’s fur or skin, like dandruff, bald patches and dry skin. It also gives you the opportunity to check for lumps and bumps and any fleas or ticks. Besides this, grooming is also perfect for creating a strong bond between you and your dog, so ensure it is part of a regular routine.

5. Keep up to date with their vaccinations and check-ups

A yearly check-up from the vet provides a great opportunity to have your dog fully checked over and ensure any warning signs of health concerns are detected early. It's also important to make sure that your dog is fully up to date with all vaccinations so they are fully protected.

6. Make sure your dog is microchipped

In April 2016, it became a legal requirement in England and Scotland to ensure your dog is microchipped by the time they are 8 weeks old. You can have your dog microchipped at your vet, normally for a charge or through some charities for free. You could be fined up to £500 if your dog is not microchipped.

7. Know what is 'normal' for your dog

It's important to get to know your dog as changes in their behaviour could be cause for concern or indicate an underlying issue. You may look out for changes in the amount your dog is eating, or behaving for example scratching more than usual. If you notice any differences, it's important to get this checked out.

8. Show your dog affection

Establishing a strong bond with your dog and showing your pet some love is important for you both. Cuddles, petting, belly rubs and grooming are all great for building strong relationships and positive interactions with other humans and animals.

9. Think about spay/neutering your dog

If appropriate, it's important to think about having your dog neutered. This can have several benefits for your pet and prevent health issues, extend your pet’s life expectancy and also cut down on aggressive behaviour in males. In females, it can prevent them from going into heat and reduce the unwanted behaviours associated with their cycle. For the greatest benefits, this should be done under the age of one. Both males and females recover quickly after surgery and are usually back to normal within a couple of days.

10. Socialisation

Early association and exposure to people and situations at a young age is an important part of your dogs development and helps to decrease anti-social, fearful or aggressive behaviour. It's important that your dog gets enough human and animal interaction, as a puppy and throughout their life. This can include visiting family, taking a trip to the park or going for a walk where there are other people and dogs. Ensuring your dog is appropriately trained is also important to your dogs development within social situations too.

We hope you've picked up some good tips to take away for your pet! x

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