Do you know how healthy your dog is? Dr. Philip Schledorn, AniForte veterinarian, gives us important tips to make your dog as healthy as possible.
Philip believes that nutrition is the key for your dear pet to enjoy good health and have a long and happy life. But it all depends on us, the owners.
Take note of these tips and the signs that may indicate poor diet, and what to do about it ...
1. Hair off
"A shiny and healthy coat is a sign of health," says Dr. Philip. "If a dog's coat begins to lose brightness and is off, it could be a sign that they are not getting enough nutrients from the food."
If you notice these signs in your dog, Dr. Philip advises adding omega-3 fatty acids to your diet, which can be found in tuna, salmon and sardines. Simply integrate these foods into your meals.
Another option is to add a teaspoon of vegetable oil in the dog's food, to enhance the brightness of its fur.Photo: Getty Images
2. Joint problems
Many dogs suffer joint problems, particularly larger breeds. This problem becomes more severe if the pet is overweight.
"This causes excess pressure on the joints that will cause you real discomfort," says Dr. Philip. "The main symptom of arthritis in dogs is joint pain that causes tension in the muscles."
"Muscle tension is also the result of overeating, as it causes accumulation of metabolic waste products. Therefore, it is vitally important to carefully measure the amounts of food."
When it comes to exercise, Dr. Philip suggests that the best and most moderate way to improve joints is swimming, walking underwater and physical therapy, three or four times a day. Instead of resting, exercise increases circulation and supplies nutrients and oxygen to the body.
In addition to exercise, you can also add a supplement to the food to relieve joint pain.Photo: Getty Images / Steve Hoskins
3. Too many whims
It is very easy to fall into bad habits with your dog, either by overfeeding him with the leftovers of your plate or with treats from time to time. This can lead to excess food and your dog getting too fat.
According to a recent survey by the Association of Pet Food Manufacturers, 81% of veterinary professionals believe that the level of obesity in pets is getting worse.
How to know if your dog is overweight?
- You should be able to feel your dog's ribs when you touch his body if they have a normal weight. The curve of your lower body should also be visible.
- If your dog has difficulty getting up, he may be overweight.
- If your dog gets tired quickly or has trouble breathing when you go for a walk with him, this can also be a sign that they are overweight.
"Certain feeding techniques such as 'feeding at discretion' are certainly not advisable, it means that you have no perspective on how much your dog is consuming," explains Dr. Philip. "Food portions should be measured according to the weight of the dog, to ensure he has the healthy amount of food at each meal."
Leftovers from foods intended for humans can be harmful to your pet, since not all human foods are appropriate for dogs, and some are even toxic, such as onions or chocolate.Photo: Getty Images
5. Weight loss
Something you should do if your dog is getting fat is to give him less carbohydrates and fats. Also stop giving them those little treats and cookies!
Exercise is essential and a good option is to divide meals into two or three smaller portions throughout the day, instead of a single meal.
"Many dogs go crazy with food and have no idea when they are full," says Dr. Philip. "They will even make you believe they are hungry with those little eyes."
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There may be several signs that your dog is allergic, such as ear infections, itchy skin, diarrhea and vomiting. To know if your dog has a food allergy, if you experience any of these symptoms, eliminate one food at a time from your diet. Thus, you can detect what causes the reaction.
Dr. Philip suggests giving dogs food for pets without grains, since grain is an allergen for many animals.Photo: Getty Images
7. Gum disease
"Gum disease is an additional result of a poor diet, and it shows when a dog starts to have bad breath, loss of appetite or swollen gums," explains Dr. Philip. "In general, gum disease is caused by the formation of dental tartar, which is the result of the accumulation of waste material in a dog's saliva."
The solution is a healthy and balanced diet to reduce the formation of tartar and waste materials.
Follow the advice of Dr. Philip and your beloved dog will be healthier, happier and even more handsome.