As caring pet parents, we want to keep our dogs safe. After all, these canines depend on us for their survival. When something goes wrong, it's up to us to fix it, whether that means taking them to the vet or reaching into our dog's mouth to stop them from eating another sock. But preventing these accidents in the first place is the best way to protect your dog, especially when you're not home.
When it comes to the safety of your dog, it's important to know what to look for. Here are five ways to keep your dog safer:
Monitor your pet's dental health
When dogs were domesticated, their natural source for teeth cleaning -- their "prey" -- was removed. This is because gnawing on their prey's bones was usually enough to get the bad stuff out of their teeth. Nowadays, giving your dog a real bone to chomp on can result in some serious health issues, so that's out of the picture.
But the nutritional replacements -- canned and dried food -- does not provide an adequate level of oral hygiene for your pup. As a result, dogs are vulnerable to dental and oral diseases. The buildup of plaque can turn to tartar, just like in humans. The tartar will then form gaps where the dog’s gums and teeth intersect. In turn, these gaps allow for more harmful bacteria to accumulate. If the bacteria enter the bloodstream, major health complications can occur in the lungs, kidneys, and heart. Bringing your dog to the vet for oral examinations, brushing your dog’s teeth several times a week, and feeding your dog dental chews can help prevent dental problems.
By kindergarten, 40% of children have cavities. At a similar age, many dogs experience dental issues but the signs may be less obvious. In order to keep your dog healthy, it’s essential to be aware of signs your dog has a dental disease. Symptoms may include:
- Bad breath
- Bleeding from the mouth
- Loss of teeth
- Tooth discoloration
- Loss of appetite
- Dropping food from the mouth
If you notice any of these signs, be sure to take your pet to the vet as quickly as you can. These signs are more common in senior dogs but oral health problems can plague any breed at any age, especially if their teeth are exposed to the air. Unexpected vet visits can be costly, so having pet insurance can be very helpful in situations when your pet needs emergency help from the vet.
Ensure your dog's safety in the home with cameras
Even though we want to stay at home for as long as possible, we're not able to spend every waking minute with our pets. If you’re a frequent traveler or you just miss your best friend when you’re away at work, installing dog cameras may be worth trying. These handy cameras allow you to monitor your dog's behavior. When an accident occurs or something appears wrong, you will be able to address the problem quickly. If you have a puppy, you may be even more concerned for their safety.
Learn the signs of sickness in your dog
Even caring pet parents may miss the subtle signs that their pet is ill. Look for abnormal behavior such as:
- Excessive drinking or urinating
- Sleeping more than normal
- Bad breath
- Frequent digestive upsets
- Difficulty rising or climbing stairs
There may also be physical symptoms like dry or itchy skin, lumps, sores, red or cloudy eyes, and shaking of the head. Taking your dog to the veterinarian for preventive care testing can help detect disease in its earliest stages. Treating a disease in its early stages can increase the likelihood your dog will respond to treatment. Scheduling an annual screening your veterinarian is the first step to ensuring your dog is healthy.
Always walk your dog on a leash
Although your dog may be well-trained, you cannot account for the behavior of other people and animals around you. Sick dogs might approach your companion or a sudden movement from a stranger might put your dog on high-alert. When your dog perceives someone as a threat to you, it may go into attack mode. If your dog encounters a dangerous wild creature, the situation may be completely out of your control. To guarantee your dog's safety and others, limit the possibility of encountering a dangerous circumstance by leashing your dog.
Avoid dog food made with grains
Is your dog experiencing health issues that you cannot attribute to a specific cause or condition? Try switching your dog to a grain-free diet. It’s possible that the ingredients in your dog’s food are causing the issue. Your dog may have a food allergy related to wheat, corn or soy. Symptoms may include excessive gas, diarrhea, chronic chewing, vomiting, or even scratching. If your dog is experiencing any of these issues contact your veterinarian and discuss the benefits of making changes to your dog’s diet. After all, dogs aren't supposed to have grain as a staple in their diet; switching your dog's food can help them stay healthier for longer and even help improve their coat.
Being a dog owner is no easy task, but it's well worth the companionship from your loveable pooch. When you're ready to make some healthy changes in your dog's life, consider these simple tips to get you started.