4 Things to keep in mind when caring for your dog

by Marina Gentile

Owning a family dog has become quite popular. They are innocent, loyal, and will offer you companionship and unconditional love. Anna Maria Ranieri, owner of Pampered Pets of Westmount, has been in the pet business for 13 years. She suggests four things that families should keep in mind when caring for their dogs. These include:

Healthy Diet

A proper diet is the key to a healthy life for any living being. Ranieri says animals should be eating healthy, balanced, limited ingredients, rather than processed foods. She encourages cooking healthy meals for your dog. She suggests boiling or roasting chicken or lamb; however, keep it bland and stay away from salt and spices. She also suggests a raw food diet (raw meats and vegetables) as it has many health benefits.

However, owners should add vitamin supplements to this diet because it may be lacking in certain nutrients. Lastly, Ranieri says that if you do opt to buy dog food bags, reading the labels is important. She says to make sure that protein is the first ingredient listed along with whole ingredients. Stay away from ingredients that you can’t pronounce.

Exercise

In addition to a healthy diet, exercise is another component to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. “Just like humans want to be fit, our animals should be fit as well,” Ranieri says. She suggests that dogs should typically be going on 20-30 minute walks three times per day. If your dog is friendly, Ranieri encourages taking them to dog parks to socialize with other dogs so that they don’t feel isolated. Socializing your dog with others and integrating them into new social situations can prevent them from being fearful or aggressive.

Regular Vet Visits

Ranieri says animals should visit the veterinarian annually to make sure everything is fine. Dogs should have their weight checked, along with their eyes, ears, and skin. Ranieri says not to over-vaccinate them, as this can cause more health problems. In addition to physical health, dental health is also important. In order to keep your dog’s teeth healthy, Ranieri suggests brushing your dog’s teeth every day until you see results.

Treat Your Dog Like a Member of the Family

The day you pick up your puppy, they become a part of the family unit. Your dog should be treated with the same love and compassion that they give you. If you are a new dog owner, Ranieri suggests talking with an animal expert or other dog owners for advice on how to care for your dog. As Ranieri says, life gets busy, families grow, and sometimes things get put off, but caring for your pet should not be one of those things. “Look at them with the same love as when they were a puppy,” she says. “Their time here is limited, so enjoy the time that you have with them.”

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