There are many health advantages to owning a pet. They lower your blood pressure. You are 8 times more likely to live after a serious illness. They block chronic pain. Pet owners take fewer medications; see the doctor less and hospital stays are shorter. Some dogs can smell disease and have been trained to key in on the issue. I pay attention when my dog starts to smell a new area on me, family member or another animal buddy.
Animals mask their illnesses. Why? In the real world what is not healthy becomes prey. If you notice your dog drinking more water that is one indicator of poor health. If your pet sheds more, stools are softer or have mucus, if you notice any new lumps and if a wound will not heal, are all indicators of poor health. Do the once a week pet check to be aware of changes. Your dog's temperature should range from 100 to 103 degrees and you can check it easily with an ear thermometer. Washing your hands before and after playing with your pet will achieve a cleaner lifestyle for both you and your pet.
Pick up stools to keep parasites under control. Use live traps or traps that your pet can not get to the poison. I use tomcat boxes with block baits to keep rodents under control. You can find tomcat at Menards and Fleetfarm.
Can you feel your dog's ribs? Can you see a tummy tuck from a side view? Can you see a waistline from a top view? Remember that food does not = love. Your dog did not up its portions, you did. An over weight dog will not live as long and will have more health issues. If your dog is bugging you for food due to boredom, change the routine, add new toys to their environment. There are food puzzles / toys that you can put their daily food into instead of putting the food in their dish. Your pet will not be able to woof its food down in 30 seconds but will have to work for 30 minutes or more to get its food. If you want to give your dog a treat have it do a trick. Use small pieces of carrots, beans, peas, and dehydrated salmon. Feed healthy foods and avoid the junk.
If you need to give medication to your pet, give your pet a treat, then give a treat with the medicine inside the treat and finish with a third treat. If the medicine is liquid you can make a funnel with the back part of your dog's mouth (lower cheek) and pour the liquid there. If your pet spits out the pill open their mouth. Lift their nose up, wet the pill, put the pill to the back of the tongue, close their mouth (nose is still lifted) and blow in their nose. Let your pet have a drink of water. This works great for heartworm pills.
Should a dog go through one heat or have a litter before being fixed? If you are not planning on being a breeder there is no advantage, only disadvantages. Fixing your pet at the recommended time will make your pet healthier, less aggressive, and less roaming; less disease (cancer), less skin problems and the list goes on. There is less marking (lifting legs) and prostate issues with neutered males.
There are basically 3 times that your dog wants to go to the bathroom.
1. When it wakes up.
2. After eating
3. After playing
I like to use a command for my pets to go to the bathroom; be quick, find a spot or do your business. If you use the phase "go potty" your pet might attach itself when visitors / family ask their children if they need to go potty.
Be aware of changes, listen to what your pet is telling you and you will be a great pet owner.