Dog health – tips to keep your dog healthy and happy
Couple Walking Dog Along Suburban Street

Your four-legged friend is not only a member of the family – they’re also your loyal companion. Dogs have rightfully earned the title as a human’s best friend. So of course, you’ll want to do everything you can to make sure they maintain good health and get all the love they deserve. After all, animals really do enrich our lives.

What are 4 things dogs need to stay healthy?

  1. Take your dog to the vet regularly – Although your dog may look perfectly fine, a regular vet checkup includes a thorough internal and external examination which can be lifesaving. Plus, your vet will also provide guidance on how to establish a wellness plan that’s unique to your dog.
  2. Take your dog on regular walks – Not only is regular exercise good for your dog, it’s also good for you! Sometimes you may have to skip a walk here and there if your schedule is hectic. But missing walks regularly isn’t good for your dog. Keep in mind that not all dogs are alike, so you’ll need to find the right walking schedule that works for both you and your pup. For dogs that can’t go for regular walks, ask your veterinary team or trainer about indoor games that exercise both their body and their minds.
  3. Feed your dog healthy meals – Again like humans, food has a massive impact on your dog’s health. The right food will help your pal maintain a healthy weight, heart, and mind. Every breed is unique so it’s important to ask your veterinarian for the best nutrition plan for your dog. While it’s tempting to feed your dog what you eat, know that only certain human foods are safe for dogs.

Did you know? A dog’s breed doesn’t have a lot to do with their dietary needs (despite certain brand claims) but things like their age, health status, and size do. For example, the “gluten-free” and “no by-products” trends has led to heart disease in some dogs. Be careful of misleading marketing that sometimes come from boutique pet labels.

4. Invest in pet insurance for your dog – You wouldn’t hesitate getting car or home insurance, so when it comes to protecting your favourite family member, dog insurance is a must. Like any other type of insurance, it’s there to help you shoulder the costs of expensive vet bills you might not otherwise be able to cover if your dog gets sick or injured. Pet insurance provides peace of mind knowing that your dog will have access to the best care.

Heads up! Just brought home a new furry friend? Congratulations! Here are some things you should do before bringing home a new dog. And it’s also a good idea to have an idea of the hidden costs of pet ownership.

How can I prolong my dog’s life?

Regular checkups with your vet is the best way you can detect any medical issues early on. The same can be said regarding vaccinations and deworming – which could save your dog’s life. Investing in other things like your dog’s diet, their physical health, and having pet insurance are other top ways to help your dog live a long and healthy life.

Another tip is to take your dog to the groomer regularly. Not only will your dog look clean and tidy, but groomers also often notice when something is “off” on your dog’s body.

What are the most common health problems in dogs?

Just like humans, unfortunately dogs can also get sick. Sometimes it’s unavoidable but other times disease can be nipped early with preventative measures. Here’s a list of common health problems that dogs can face.

  • Arthritis – Although walks are good for dogs, sometimes as they get older, they get inflammation of the joints which may limit the amount of exercise they can do. Thankfully, it can be treated with medication and physical therapy.
  • Obesity – You may want to think twice before handing out scraps to your dog, no matter how cute their puppy dog eyes are. Approximately 50-60% of pets in Canada are obese.
  • Dental diseasesDogs need their teeth brushed too! Dogs love to lick anything and everything, so it’s best to make sure their mouth stays clean to avoid gum disease.
  • Allergies – If your dog has red, itchy, scaly skin that makes them scratch excessively they could have a skin allergy. Although there’s no way to cure this completely, it can be treated with special medication or a change in diet.
  • Skin infections and hot spots – Excessive scratching can lead to an abrasion, which can infect a wound. Other symptoms of infection include licking, scratching, biting, and discharge of pus and fluids. To treat your dog, a vet will most likely prescribe oral or topical medication.
  • Lumps and Bumps – If you notice a lump on your dog’s skin, definitely have it checked right away. Your vet will decide whether a needle biopsy or other diagnostic test is needed to find out if it’s something to be worried about.
  • Parasites – Whether they’re internal or external, parasites such as heartworms, fleas, and ticks may cause serious illness and even be life-threatening. Preventive care and routine testing will decrease the chance of infestation and internal infections when caught early.
  • Ear infections – Your dog may have an ear infection if they scratch or shake their head excessively. Look for excessive wax build-up, black discharge, and bad smells. Ear problems can be caused by several conditions including allergies (food or environmental), genetics, autoimmune disorders, and over-cleaning.
  • Urinary tract problems – Is you dog peeing smaller amounts more frequently? Are there yellow or red spots where they sleep or on their fur? Does your dog cry or strain when urinating? Even small changes in urinary habits are a signal to consult with your veterinarian asap.
  • Soft tissue injuries – Landing funny after catching a frisbee or jumping off the couch can result in muscle, joint, and bone injuries. Painful crying, limping, and inability to walk on a leg are all signs that your pet needs immediate veterinary care and potential emergency treatment.

While no one wants to think of the worst when it comes to your dog’s health, it’s so important to be prepared for the unexpected by having the right pet insurance coverage.

Do certain dog breeds have genetic health conditions?

Yes, all dog breeds have genetic health conditions, but some have more than others. Check with your veterinary team to find out what genetic health problems are more common in your dog’s breed type.

Tip! If you’re planning on getting a dog, it’s a good idea to get pet insurance right away before any health concerns arise. This will help ensure that your dog has the greatest coverage so that they can live their happiest and healthiest life. And you won’t have the financial worries of veterinary expenses.

What is and isn’t covered by dog insurance?

Similar to home and auto insurance, the type of pet insurance policy you choose will determine what is and isn’t covered. This is why it’s important to do your homework on pet insurers to get a better idea of coverage options.

Buying pet insurance right away is key if your dog has a hereditary condition that could show up later in life. If symptoms occur after the waiting period, your pet insurance will most likely provide coverage. If you wait to get pet insurance, your dog might not be able to qualify because they’ll be considered to have a pre-existing condition – which generally isn’t covered by pet insurance.

Ask if your dog is covered for:

  • Accidents
  • Dental
  • Illness
  • Exam fees
  • Alternative therapy
  • Behavioural therapy
  • X-rays, ultrasounds, and blood testing
  • Surgery
  • Medication

Most dog insurance don’t cover:

  • Pre-existing conditions where signs or symptoms were showing before the policy started or before the end of the waiting periods
  • Elective treatments (including preventive care) you choose to have carried out that aren’t directly related to an insured accident or illness
  • Food and special diets
  • Spay or neuter surgery
  • Pregnancy and whelping

At the end of the day, providing your dog with love and attention is one of the best forms of care. After all, they love you unconditionally. While your dog’s health isn’t always straightforward, a good pet insurance plan can help ensure they have access to care when they need it. They’re always there for you, so you should always be there for them. And pet insurance will help with that.

Need coverage for your furry family members?