Did you know that October is National Pet Wellness Month? Let’s take a look at all the things you can do now and, in the future, to ensure your dog has a long, healthy, and robust life.
National Pet Wellness Month: History
Prior to the mid-1900s, dogs were mostly seen as working objects to perform their assigned jobs. But that began to change, and dogs became important and beloved members of families. Gradually, pet support systems grew, such as vet care and treatment, improved and healthier foods, and activities such as training and daycare.
Enter National Pet Wellness Month. Originally started in 2002 as a program at Purdue University, it mainly focused on dog weight and obesity. PetFit, as it was known, was an 8-week program that featured counseling and advice on nutrition, behavior, and exercise.
PetFit eventually turned into National Pet Wellness Month. Besides a focus on our own involvement in our pet’s health, National Pet Wellness Month also encourages vets to reach out to help educate their clients on how to care for their pet’s health.
Activities During the Month
Could there be a more perfect time to celebrate our pups than when fall is about to segue into winter? Consider these events you can do with your dog during this October’s National Pet Wellness Month.
Volunteer to Help
Your local animal shelter is probably in dire need of help, and who better to help than someone, like you, who loves animals? Duties abound and include walking dogs, cleaning cages, and helping staff.
Rescue groups can also use a hand, whether it be to write biographies for the animals ready to be adopted or transporting animals to foster or adoptive homes.
Host a Friendship Event
Have a pup party and invite some of your friends and neighbors who also have dogs. Ask everyone to bring a dish or keep it simple and order a pizza. Be sure to have yummy treats for the pups, too. Consider asking everyone to bring something that can be donated to the local shelter or a rescue organization.
Schedule Wellness Check
If you don’t already have one scheduled, consider making an appointment with your vet to examine your dog, making sure everything is okay. A yearly vet visit is a must, and some owners schedule 2 wellness visits a year. The bottom line is to catch anything lurking below the surface before it becomes a major problem.
For the Long Term
National Pet Wellness Month is a great launching pad for a year-round focus on your dog’s health and well-being. Pet care involves lots more than simply feeding, walking, and cuddling, although those are surely important aspects of wellness. Consider the following aspects of care and how you can incorporate them into your dog’s life.
Without you, your dog is not going to be happy. He needs you to spend time with him in whatever activity works for you both.
Is your dog a fussy eater? Have you considered seeking the services of a canine nutritionist? Most vets are well-versed in dog nutrition, but for especially problematic situations, a dog nutrition specialist may be in order. There are several practitioners in the San Diego area.
Believe it or not, obesity is a problem for many dogs. Besides a negative effect on quality of life, an overweight dog is more likely to develop heart failure, cancer, joint, disc and ligament problems, and skin irritations. It is also associated with Cushing’s disease.
You need it, your dog needs it, so put on your jogging shoes or get out the Frisbee and enjoy yourself while getting fresh air and plenty of exercise. In addition to the immediate effects, exercise also strengthens your pet’s muscles, tendons, and bones. It also helps get rid of anxiety and other mental conditions dogs may experience.
Good dental care is vital for your dog’s health today as well as ensuring he will live as long a life as possible. Learn how to brush his teeth yourself and schedule a dental cleaning with your vet on a regular basis. In the meantime, check his gums and teeth regularly. Signs of oral disease include red, swollen gums and loose, tartar-coated teeth.
You may not have thought that your short-haired dog needs grooming, but all dogs, no matter how long or short the coat, can benefit from regular brushing. Plus, a brushing session gives you the chance to examine him for lumps, bumps, or other concerning things on his body, and not to mention, the special bonding time it affords.
To Bathe or Not
If you give your dog a bath as frequently as once a week, unless he has been sprayed by a skunk or regularly roles in something smelly, think twice. Too frequent bathing dries out a dog’s skin, leading to itching, scratching, and even sores. A good rule is to bathe him between 2 and 4 months and be sure to use only shampoos formulated just for dogs. Human shampoo is harsh and can further damage his skin.
Yes – you can do it! When you hear the tapping of little dog feet on your floor, it’s time!
If you are intimidated by the thought of clipping your dog’s nails, you are not alone. But with some coaching from your vet, vet tech, groomer, and the help of some YouTube videos, you can take on the task of his manicures with grace and aplomb. Starting out, err on the site of not clipping much until you become confident.
Keeping your dog’s ears clean not only feels good to him, it also prevents him from getting ear infections. The process of cleaning also gives you the chance to look for ticks, fleas, cuts, or injuries. The actual cleaning is simple: with a cotton ball or baby wipe with ear cleaning solution, clean the inside surface of the ear and only go as far as you can fit with your finger. Don’t use a Q-tip or otherwise go too far down into the ear.
The pet industry has grown so that there is plenty of help out there for owners to take the best possible care of their dogs. Take advantage of the programs and assistance that is available so you can ensure your dog’s health and wellbeing.