7 Steps to Raising a Healthy Dog

a year ago
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This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

 Before you get excited about the idea of owning a dog, it is important you consider what it will entail. You could have a good time and enjoy the experience of owning a dog provided that you know how to go about it. Thus, it is important to understand the implications of raising a healthy dog, as the health of your dog could indirectly affect your health! It is important to note that raising a healthy dog is more than having healthy dog snacks or regular feeding.

Recently, I interviewed a number of dog owners to understand their routines and the responsibilities that come with owning a dog. This web post is a summary of the key points I gathered. From the meticulous choice of meals, training, vaccination and exercise; there are conscious steps you can adopt to raise a healthy, fit and responsible dog.

1.     Invest in Training

Training your dog does not benefit only the dog. Primarily, the owner also benefits while the dog learns socialization skills. There are various obedience classes for the dog; you can equally subscribe to online training programs for your dog. Training your dog is a great opportunity to allow your dog interact with other pets thus, she gets to learn not to be hostile towards fellow dogs.

Besides, training your dog could equally imbibe basic commands such as “come, go, leave it, stop, watch it” etc. When your dog is trained, you also benefit as you will be proud of her and confident to move around with her.

 "A well-trained dog has more opportunities to improve its physical health," Miller adds. Walks, fetch, and agility training are more fun for you both if your dog will come when called, wait when asked to, and greet other people and pups politely

2.   Maintain a healthy Weight

Oh, this does not apply to humans alone. The benefit of being of optimal weight in humans cannot be overemphasized. This applies to your dog as well. With meticulous care and nutrition, the dog can survive well to their late teens. The same way being overweight leads to serious health complications in humans, it affects dogs as well. Thus, they run the risk of heart disease or behavioral disorder if your dog is overweight.

This could be addressed by investing in high-quality pet foods. Avoid pet table foods and go for brands that include protein and fish.

3.        Itching and scratching: Dealing with fleas

While these parasitic creatures might not seem serious, do not take them for granted. Apart from gradually deteriorating your dog’s health, you, the owner are equally at risk. This is because these creatures find their way into furniture and cushions totally unnoticed. When they are well established in your residence, exterminating them could be difficult.

Aside from being irritating, fleas could lead to the sore skin as a result of the continuous itching your dog subjects itself to. They can be treated with tablets or visits to the vet. Also, fumigating your surrounding could equally help combat them.


4.       De-worm Regularly

Keep in mind that it is very easy for your dog to catch worms. This also puts your whole family at risk, unless it is well taken care of. Thus, appropriately, give your dog worm vaccines at the prescribed intervals.

Right from a tender age, deworm them for tapeworm, hookworm, roundworm etc. Asides from the little puppies that should be vaccinated every two-week interval; your dog should be vaccinated every three months. While this might seem a little overwhelming, it is still better than having to deal with a worm outbreak.

5.       Invest in High-Quality Foods

Dog food producing companies abound. Thus, you have to be meticulous in selecting the ones to buy. Also, invest in high-quality meals, prevent them from eating too much and invest in light snacks. Food is one way we show our dog that we care! Make sure all treats are not more than 10% of their calorie needs.

Also, avoid fads like the wolf diet, raw food craze etc. While these classes of dog foods are not harmful, there are no real health benefits.

6.       Get Them To Workout

Your pet is a bundle of energy; unleash it by engaging inadequate exercise. Go for a run in the park or hiking. However, try not to overstress your dog. Make sure your dog’s endurance is well built for whatever exercise you are throwing at her.

However, choose exercises that your dog is already familiar with. If your dog hasn’t been trained for swimming, it might not go well if you try to get her to. Kern revealed that there are no specific cardio workouts for dogs. However, endeavor to get them outside in the sun often.

7.       Invest in Annual Check-ups

Do not underestimate the power of medical checkups. Every year, an in-depth medical examination is essential for your dog, advised Kern. This is important because illness and disease catch up with them earlier than humans, therefore, early detection is critical.

Basic tests such as a total blood count, dental check, and a vaccination review are the needed checks. However, we will advise you to choose your vet carefully. Consider one who is willing to give your dog full attention and equally, answer all your questions.


Maintaining a healthy dog could be overwhelming. However, if you see your dog as part of your family, it should be something you enjoy doing. Besides, have it in mind that all your investments in your dog will benefit you indirectly as well!