Dogs can be a real handful. If you really care about your dog’s health, you want to help them live the best possible life, like in the case of any other loved one. To help with this, we’ve collected seven easy steps for helping our furry friends achieve the best possible health outcomes.

1. Give Them Enough Exercise

Just like human beings, dogs too need to stay active. On average, scientists estimate that dogs require around a half-hour of brisk movement to keep them in shape. Be warned though: too much of a good thing can cause injuries and harm your pet. Also do your homework, as different breeds might require different amounts of movement. Some breeds are known to be more active and may require at least two walks a day.

2. Keep Their Surroundings Clean

It cannot be stressed enough that living clean is good for both mental and physical health. This applies to dogs as well. Be sure to keep a tidy environment, especially by cleaning your dog’s bowl regularly to prevent bowel infections. Research has shown that any type of dog kennel can also be kept clean with the right amount of work. Also, wash up at least once a week indoors. You can most certainly have a clean home and a clean dog.

3. Look For Signs of Itchy Skin

Sure, it’s normal for a dog to scratch itself every once in a while. They’re outdoor creatures, let’s not forget. But if the scratching becomes too common, that could be a sign of trouble. Flea and lice infestations can be tricky to get rid of, and can even spread to you and your family, so it’s best to nip the problem in the bud and act fast by properly applying flea cream products early on. Regular combing and brushing will, thankfully, usually do the job, though it never hurts to have dog skin health products on hand.

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4. Keep Your Food Separate

We absolutely don’t want to scare you, but science has shown that various types of bacteria such as Salmonella can migrate between species. In one case, an outbreak was linked to dry dog food. Uh-oh! For safety’s sake, be sure to keep the food you and your favorite pet consume completely separate, in clearly demarked places. It’s in everybody’s best interest that your gut bacteria not get too mixed up with your pet’s microbes. Otherwise, there could be trouble in store, maybe even for both of you.

5. Take Them To A Vet Every Month Or So

It cannot be stressed enough how important prevention is when it comes to health. Experts advise that dog-owners take their pets to the vet every month or so. Vets can provide added insight, especially if you have any questions or concerns about your dog’s health. In addition, they can detect any abnormalities or signs of illness, ensuring that health conditions are avoided, or at least get treated early on. Particularly important is joint- and muscle health, as dogs are prone to wearing out their bones and muscles. The professionals behind Paramount Pet Health point out that there are a number of vitamins available that can be beneficial for your pup. Aside from visiting animal health professionals, there is a lot you can do to ensure better health outcomes. For example, a range of animal care products is available, such as liquid glucosamine.

6. Watch Out For Signs of Diabetes

Diabetes is unfortunately not uncommon in canines. Desexed male dogs in particular have a higher chance of becoming diabetic, as do older females. This means that you absolutely must be on the lookout for signs of diabetes, especially if your dog is older.

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If not treated in time, diabetes can completely ruin your pet’s health, possibly even leading to euthanasia. A truly sad possibility indeed! Notable warning signs include too much water drinking, decreased appetite, weight loss, cloudy eyes, and chronic or recurring infections.

7. A Quality Diet Is Key

Last but by no means least, diet is essential for maintaining canine health. Not only can a poor diet cause obesity, high blood pressure, or even diabetes, it can also ruin your dog’s teeth, causing persistent pain. Quality food therefore matters. While the jury is out regarding the viability of vegetarian diets for dogs, there are still a bunch of ways you can keep your dog eating healthy. For one thing, a processed food diet is not a very good idea. Go for quality instead of quantity, and always look at the ingredients. Also, as several vets have pointed out, wet food is way better than dry food so make sure that you stock up on the dry food to ensure that your furry friend is always well fed.

By following these seven easy steps, you and your dog can live life to the full. It’s essential that you always stay on top of your dog’s health as they grow because their bodies require different things as they go through their different stages of growth.