Tips to Ensure Your Dog Keeps Happy & Healthy as we Ease out of Lockdown
Michael the Vet has teamed up with Laughing Dog, premium dog food brand, to provide advice on ensuring your dog remains happy and healthy as we continue to tackle 2021. Having created top tips on every element of pet happiness, Dr Michael shares his advice on everything from diet and exercise to fun and games to make sure your dog is living its best life.
1. Dealing with separation anxiety.
Vets are seeing more and more cases of separation anxiety in dogs of all ages due to owners being at home more often since COVID-19. Try to work brief absences from your dog into your daily routine to get them used to being alone. Introduce fun enrichment activities to keep your pooch happy and occupied when they are alone. Think slow feeders, new toys and even keeping the radio on. Set up a camera while you are out to identify any signs of separation anxiety. This is especially significant as new Laughing Dog research reveals that 66% of Brits have become even closer to their four legged friends during challenging times since COVID-19, with 32% having found their furry friend to be a lifeline over the year.
2. Don’t overfeed your dog.
Sadly over 51% of dogs in the UK are overweight. Don’t let your pooch become a statistic. Follow the feeding guidelines on your dog’s food packaging is essential and by using a kitchen scale and measuring cup you can easily follow these to the letter. Remember to account for any treats, like dental chews, and reduce their daily food amount accordingly, as you would with a human diet. Keeping your dog active is key. Along with a balanced diet, this is one of the best ways to keep them trim and dog happy.
3. Keep these far away from your dog!
There are several foods and human medications that are toxic to dogs, and some can even be fatal. Familiarise yourself with some of the most common toxicities vets see in dogs and make an effort to keep them far away from your dog to ensure they stay healthy and happy. Many people know chocolate is off limits, in fact the darker the more dangerous, but other household regulars such as caffeine, grapes, raisins, sultanas, and even onions and garlic need to be kept safely out of reach.
4. Keep those teeth clean.
Dental disease is one of the most common diseases dogs will face in their lifetime. An easy way to keep those pearly whites clean and healthy is to have a daily dental hygiene routine. Get your doggo used to brushing and use an enzymatic toothpaste that will prevent the build-up of bacteria. Treat your dog with specially designed dental treats, like Laughing Dog’s Teeth and Gums dental bites. They’ll prevent plaque build-up, keeping those gums healthy and that breath fresh!
5. Why feed puppy food?
Dogs have different nutritional requirements during their varying life stages: growth, maintenance, reproduction and hard work. It’s important to change their diet accordingly so that they get all the energy and nutrients they need to thrive. Toy and small breed puppies should be fed puppy food for at least 9 months, but giant breeds should remain on puppy food for up to 24 months. Brands such as Laughing Dog have complete ranges which contain limited and simple ingredients perfect for your pooch at puppy stages and when they transition to adults. Puppy diets have increased energy, protein, calcium and phosphorus to aid growth. If you feed puppy food to adult dogs, this could end up in weight gain due to the higher calories, so speak to your vet about the ideal time to switch diets.
6. Managing arthritis.
Osteoarthritis affects 1 in 5 dogs, and this figure increases with age. Despite being one of the most common diseases, many cases go undetected because our dogs bravely adapt their lifestyle to disguise the signs of their suffering. Even though they seem happy, it’s important to look out for a host of tell-tale signs such as limping, less active/laziness, reduced agility, grumpiness, increased sleeping/resting and joint chewing/licking. Weight loss, exercise and joint supplements can help with the early stages of arthritis so it’s important to be visual and speak with your vet.
7. Dealing with pesky parasites.
Dogs can pick up a wide range of nasty parasites from their environment, so it is important that we protect them using monthly parasite treatments. Some of the most common critters in the UK are fleas, ticks, tapeworm, lungworm and giardia. Some of these can infect us humans too, which is another reason why parasite treatment is so important. There is a huge range of options for your dog, from tablets and spot-ons to collars. Some regions have higher rates of certain parasites than others. Speak to your vet about the best treatment tailored to your pooch.
8. The best chew toys for your dog.
Dogs love to chew, and it’s an important form of enrichment that can make them happy. Some chew toys are safer than others, however, and it also depends on what type of chewer your dog is: inhaler, destroyer or nibbler. Avoid bones as these can splinter, cause intestinal obstructions, constipation and tooth fractures. Vets recommend doing the thumbnail test: is the toy soft enough to leave an indent with your thumbnail? If not, it will be too hard, risking irreversible damage to your dog’s teeth. Rubber chew toys are great, and many can be stuffed with your dog’s favourite treats. Dental chews, ropes and balls are safe options too.
Qualified vet, Dr Michael Lazaris, has partnered with Laughing Dog, the premium pet food brand, to offer guidance for pet parents to care for pets as we adapt to easing lockdown restrictions. Laughing Dog’s #DogHappyDinners campaign strives to keep pets happy whilst we adapt to the new normal and to reveal behaviours on how to ensure your dog is having a happy diet. Use DOGHAPPYDINNERS to receive 30% off and free delivery on your order. For further advice, visit www.laughingdogfood.com for Dr Michael’s full tips.