There’s a reason why dogs are known as man’s best friend: they’ve been giving us protection, service and unquestionable loyalty as far back as prehistoric times. In return, every good owner feeds, shelters and cares for his dog like it’s a part of his extended family. It’s a relationship that has benefitted both species for millennia and the bond between man and dog is as strong as ever.
In modern times, most people don’t use dogs for hunting, work or protection from predators. However, the bond between man and canine hasn’t weakened one bit. If anything, today’s dogs are closer to our hearts than ever before. As pets, dogs are very good at displaying affection while us humans return the favor by caring for our them.
Caring for your mutt doesn’t involve simply feeding and walking it. You have to minimize risk factors that can inflict illness or injuries.Here are seven things you can do to give your dog a happier and longer life:
- Get Complete Shots for Your Dog–At the age of 12 weeks, puppies can start getting immunized. Make sure to get everything that your veterinarian prescribed. Rabies, parvovirus and other deadly pathogens claim the lives of hundreds of thousands of dogs each year worldwide. They’re also contagious, which means that your pet can become a health risk itself to other animals and even humans.
A vaccine is a small investment for the health of your pet. They don’t cost a lot and they can be administered pretty quickly. From there, you only need to get booster shots for your pet once every few years.
- Get Your Dog a Tag – Traditionally, a dog tag is a small metal plate that’s inscribed with information about a dog and its owner. This is a simple yet highly effective way to get reunited with your pet if it ever gets lost. The people who find it will rely on what’s written to discover who owns the dog and how he or she can be contacted.
Recently, dogs have also been tagged using tiny microchips that contain the animal’s vital information. Similar to regular tags, microchip tags will allow the people who find lost dogs trace its owner and return it home.
- Get aGood Collar – A dog collar shouldn’t just be ornamental – it should also be functional. A good collar should let you identify your dog in one glance. It should also be strong enough to attach a leash on, and it should fit comfortably around your pet’s neck. If a dog collar doesn’t fit this description, you might have to look for a better one.
Nylon and leather collars are popular thanks to their durability. Even in active breeds, these collars should last several years before they need to be replaced. Most modern collars will allow you to snap on a leash or a tag – just make sure to get one that lets you do that quickly and easily.
When it comes to style, the look is totally up to you. You can choose one with plain colors or you can opt for something with design patterns. If you want something unique, consider custom dog collars that allow you to choose between many different styles, colors and patterns. Some even allow you to display the name of your dog.
- Put a Leash on Your Dog During Long Walks – Dogs are smart, curious animals who love to explore their surroundings. If you’re taking your dog for a walk some distance away from your house, make sure to put a leash on it. Medium and bigger-sized dogs can get excited if they see other dogs, squirrels or raccoons, which may cause them to try and give chase. A leash prevents your pet from straying away and getting lost in the process.
- Keep Your Dog Away from Electrical Wires – While adult dogs usually know better than to gnaw on electrical wiring, puppies often don’t. If you have a dog that’s less than a year old and you’re keeping it indoors most of the time, check the house for wiring. Try to keep as much of it out of a puppy’s reach as possible. Elevation and physical concealers are your best bets. If you’re not quite sure how to do this yourself, consult an electrician.
The obvious danger with letting a puppy chew on wiring is electrocution. The bigger danger, however, is the fact that exposed wiring is a serious fire hazard. If an exposed and live copper wire gets in contact with combustibles in your household, it may be enough to start a disaster.
- Keep Chocolates Away–Not everything that humans like to eat can be shared with dogs. Chocolate is on top of that list due to its theobromine content – a chemical that’s very poisonous to dogs.
In small doses relative to a dog’s size, theobromine can cause diarrhea and vomiting. However, larger dosages can cause seizures, heartbeat irregularities, and even death. No matter how tasty a chocolate treat may seem to you, it’s never a good idea to share it with your canine buddy.
- Avoid Contact with Wild and Stray Animals–Some people may have never heard of rabies, but this is one of the deadliest diseases that your dog can contract. Rabies is a virus that attacks the central nervous system in mammals. It’s often transferred through bites or the exposure of an open would to a rabid animal’s saliva. While most dogs are immunized for rabies, neglecting to take booster shots may make a dog vulnerable to the disease.
In the United States, rabies is highly uncommon in domestic animals. However, wild animals such as bats, raccoons and foxes still carry it. If these animals are present in your area, try to prevent contact between them and your pet as much as possible.
Stray cats and dogs can also carry rabies. If you spot strays in your neighborhood, notify the local animal control authorities immediately. If you suspect that there’s been contact between your dog and strays, consult a veterinarian right away.
There you have it. Seven tips to keep your pooch safe, healthy and happy. As long as you have these precautions at the back of your mind, your pet should be alright.