The key to any healthy diet is balance but what is considered a balanced canine diet?
- Dogs are omnivores — protein rich meat (e.g. chicken, fish) and grain products (e.g. rice, pasta, cereals) should be part of your dog's daily meals.
- Provide plentiful water and give your dog milk in moderation. Milk is a good source of calcium but too much milk gives it diarrhea.
- Calcium and phosphorous are important for healthy bones and teeth. For puppies and pregnant bitches, calcium is crucial.
- Be careful of small bones in meat as your dog can choke on them.
- Do not feed your dog raw meat or eggs.
- Avoid feeding your dog too much food as dogs tend to overeat.
Your dog should be panting during an aerobic exercise.
Broadly speaking, a dog's exercise requirements is quite similar to us humans. Exercise intensity and frequency depends on factors such as breed and age; and lack of exercise can lead to physical and emotional problems. A rule of thumb is 30 minutes of aerobic exercise at least 3 times a week. Daily walks and playing fetch are good exercises but remember to make the activities intense enough for it to be an aerobic workout.
Dogs have to be groomed regularly and it's not only to make their coats shine. Grooming is essential to keeping your dog vibrant and healthy. The grooming routine generally varies according to dog breed and hair type. Here are some basics to get you started.
Doggies and baths can be a recipe for disaster so thank the stars that dogs do not need to take baths regularly. Bathing frequency depends on the dog's activities, hair type and length as well as climate. Bathing every 2 to 3 weeks is normally sufficient as bathing too often can dry your dog's skin. Take care to use soap free shampoos as canines are not suited to use shampoos meant for humans. If your dog smells bad and you are thinking of bathing it more often, it's not harmful to bathe it once a week. However, if the odour persists, it's probably due to other root problems such as a poor diet, skin infection or the simple fact that your dog naturally smells funky - you can always use doggy deodorant though.
Most dogs like being brushed. It's a easy task which you can do daily and strengthens your bond, especially if your dog has a penchant for it. The minimum brushing frequency for a healthy, shiny coat varies according to hair length.
Short — once a month
Medium — once a week
Long — daily
For more details on dog coat brushing, take a look at this dog coat brushing article
Overgrown nails can break easily and also interfere with the dog's natural gait.
Long nails can be a danger to others but it's also not good for the dog. Trim your dog's nails monthly using a clipper or a rotary tool. Exercise caution while trimming as your dog can become averse to subsequent sessions if the nail trim causes pain.