Dog owners are the only advocate for the health of their canine companion. While Rover can smell a stranger down the street, catch a Frisbee on the run, and a number of other impressive feats, he can’t tell you when he isn’t feeling well. He doesn’t know how to take medicine and he wouldn’t know what to do with a toothbrush. In short, the dog owner has to take care of these things.

Here are the canine health essentials, in case you didn’t know:


Canine teeth need to be cleaned on occasion to keep them from forming too much plaque and tartar. This keeps periodontal disease at bay. Dog owners can go the extra mile by brushing the canines of their canines on a regular basis. If you start this habit when a dog is young, they will be less likely to be resistant to the process later on.


Dogs can suffer from stress and anxiety just like people. This is especially the case for dogs who are home alone for long spans of time. They’re likely to develop separation anxiety stemmed from a pack animal mentality; they want to be around their pack and are hardwired to abhor isolation. Popular remedies for dogs with anxiety include calming techniques, long walks, and CBD oil. Managing the mental health of your dog will go a long way in preventing behavioral problems.


There was a time when giving your dog a can of Alpo or a bowl of kibble was considered the peak of pet care. Times have changed a bit. These days, much more effort is put into creating pet food products which are nutritionally balanced and minimally processed. With that said, plenty of dog food companies are happy to market their products as being healthier than they really are. Consult with your dog’s veterinarian to figure out the best diet plan for your canine companion.


Regular exercise is as important for pets as it is for people. The exact exercise needs of a dog depend on age, breed, and other factors, but the range tends to fall within 30-minutes to two hours of activity every day. 15 minutes of fetch here and a 20-minute walk there can add up to plenty of fitness time every day, as long as the owner is willing to initiate the exercise session.


Do the right thing and spay or neuter your dog. Not only do they live longer, but you also avoid dealing with all the awkwardness that comes with a dog capable of reproducing. Most cities have humane societies which will do the procedure on a sliding scale, making it affordable for any pet owner. And if you think you’re robbing your best friend of his manhood, grow up.

Dogs have a lot going for them, but they lack the ability to look after their own health. That’s the job of the dog owner. By monitoring and looking after the essential points of dog health on this list, dog owners can say they are doing their part to provide the best life possible for their canine companions. And that’s the best any living creature can ever hope for.


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Sara T. Loving

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