Small dog breeds are becoming increasingly popular, but they also have specific nutritional needs and a predisposition to certain health problems. If you’re considering adopting a small dog, it’s essential to know how to keep them healthy from puppyhood to senior doghood.
First, adopt your dog from a reputable breeder with good health records. Avoid adopting from careless breeders, pet stores, or puppy mills when possible.
Vaccination is one way to prevent diseases and infections in your furry friend. Vaccines are injections that introduce antigens to the body’s immune system, which helps prepare it to fight disease-causing organisms when they invade.
Vaccinations are essential for puppies, young dogs, and senior pets. Like infants, puppies and young dogs have weak immunity to certain diseases and need booster shots to protect them against severe health conditions that can lead to death.
According to the ASPCA, most vets recommend vaccinating small dogs at least once yearly. This includes vaccines for rabies, distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza.
The exact number of vaccines your pet needs depends on your lifestyle and where you live. For instance, if your pup often goes to daycare or boards at a doggie daycare, you may need to vaccinate them for Bordetella bronchiseptica (kennel cough) and the flu vaccine.
You’ll also likely chat about diet and dental care during these visits. The veterinarian may recommend spaying or neutering your dog, depending on its gender and size.
Exercise Your Pup Regularly
Dogs come in various sizes and breeds; some small dog breeds for sale make beautiful pets. Small-breed dogs typically have lower levels of activity. Nevertheless, daily exercise is still necessary for those tiny dogs to remain healthy. Exercising your dog is one of the best things you can do for their health. It can help them maintain a healthy weight, prevent health problems, and increase their quality of life.
A good start for most dogs is a daily walk – you don’t have to take a long walk each time; try to ensure they get at least 30 minutes of exercise daily.
When your pup gets older, you should also introduce strength training to their routine. This can be as simple as running for a few seconds, then doing squats, or something more challenging like a backward stepping lunge.
To avoid your pups getting tired, start with a few short sessions and work up to longer ones as they get used to the activity.
To ensure your puppy is getting plenty of physical and mental exercise, you can introduce games such as tug, fetch, and hide-and-seek to your routine. Some fun dog sports, such as herding or tracking, are also great for you and your pup!
Take Your Pup to the Vet
Frequent vet clinic visits are one of the most crucial things you can do to keep your puppy healthy. Not only can the vet give your pup a thorough exam, but they will also be able to catch any severe conditions that may have occurred before you noticed them.
During your first visit, the vet will look at your dog’s health, ask questions about his habits and diet, and check for any physical ailments or issues. They will also recommend a plan for preventative care and vaccinations.
While you don’t need pet insurance for your puppy’s first vet appointment, checking into it for ongoing care is a good idea.
Feed Your Pup a Healthy Diet
Dogs need a balanced diet that provides all the necessary nutrients to grow and develop properly. They can’t produce most of the proteins and amino acids they need, so feeding them a high-quality diet helps keep them healthy.
Quality puppy food should contain all the essential nutrients to support your pup’s development, including protein, fat, and calcium. Puppies are at a higher risk for nutritional deficiencies, so choosing high-quality puppy food is essential.
Feeding your puppy a healthy diet can help them live a long and happy life, and they’ll be less likely to become overweight or have health problems as they grow up. Maintaining their daily caloric intake and ensuring they get the proper amounts of meat, vegetables, fruits, and grains is crucial to their overall health.
A healthy diet should consist of three to four meals a day. Read the kibble bag carefully for how many cups or scoops your dog should receive, and follow the guidelines to ensure they’re getting the proper amount of nutrition each day.
Take Your Pup to the Vet for Checkups
A regular vet checkup can help your dog live longer and healthier. Most vets recommend a yearly wellness exam, although the schedule varies depending on your pet’s health needs.
Your vet will assess your dog’s general well-being by asking about their diet and lifestyle habits. They’ll also perform physical examinations and give annual vaccinations.
These checks are essential because they allow your veterinarian to detect subtle clues that indicate a problem or illness. These signs include changes in breathing, heart rate, eyes, or swellings.
If these signs appear, your veterinarian can recommend tests and treatment options for your pet. Early detection of diseases and conditions is a cost-effective strategy that saves you money and headaches later.
A wellness checkup helps your vet connect with you and your dog. This relationship can form the basis for a long-term veterinarian-client-patient relationship, allowing your pet to receive the best care possible.