Meeka. The love of my life. My little soul sister, doggy daughter, best friend. This little 6.4 pound ball of love stole my heart and I would do anything for her. I know many of you feel the same about your pooch and whether you have a giant 100 pound slobberfest of a bernese mountain dog or a tiny 4 pound teacup poodle, all dogs can benefit from the same FIVE health essentials for dogs.
#1 FRESH water
When I go to other people’s houses and I see their dog’s water bowl and it’s disgusting with grime and mold and things floating in it…I want to FREAK OUT. I know that’s judgmental, but I don’t care! If your dog throws up a lot or has diarrhea on your floor, but you’re letting him/her DRINK MOLD everyday, then you really only have yourself to blame. Just wash your dog’s water bowl. Wash it multiple times a week and fill it up with the same water you drink. If you drink filtered water, then so does your dog. You should feel comfortable with your 5 year old kid drinking from the very bowl that your dog drinks out of.
#2 Food that does not have corn in it and that has real meat protein as the first few ingredients.
I am a huge fan of Blue Buffalo dog food. They don’t use corn as a filler, they don’t use animal by-products, and they have lots of essential vitamins, minerals, and amino acids that doggies need. Corn CANNOT be properly digested by dogs, and yet, it’s the main ingredient in your typical dog food from Walmart. Dogs should have animal protein, whole grains (unless grain sensitive- Blue Buffalo makes a great grain free dog food), and fruits/veggies just like humans should. Meeka eats the Blue Buffalo Small Breed Chicken and Brown Rice food.
#3 Supplement their diets with REAL healthy foods
I give Meeka little bits of real food quite frequently. If your dog is overweight, people will always say “Don’t give it table food!!”, but that’s not necessarily true. You want the dog to eat healthy just like you, as long as they aren’t getting too much of it, just like you. Some things I give to Meeka on the regular include a few blueberries, bites of banana, chunks of avocado, cooked asparagus or broccoli, bites of apple, spoonfuls of coconut oil, spoonfuls of peanut butter, bites of scrambled egg, bites of chicken or salmon if it’s not heavily seasoned. Of course, I don’t give her all of that all the time. But I’d say 9 days out of 10, she gets 3-5 pieces of healthy food.
This should be so obvious, but for a lot of people, it’s not. I hear people say all the time “My dog is lazy, he doesn’t even like to exercise”. Well, that’s because he’s depressed. Think about it, if you don’t exercise for 5 years, never going outside to walk, never running, never playing and someone comes around one day and says “Let’s go outside and take a long walk”, of course you don’t want to! Your body and mind are not used to that type of stimulation, it’s reverted into a suppressed and depressed mode without it. I promise you, your dog needs stimulation, he needs exercise and fresh air, he needs interaction with the outside world. My dog is a freaking YORKIE-POODLE, but I have exercised with her regularly since she was 11 weeks old. She LOVES to run and walk. She never gets tired. She LOVES to go hiking. She’s 5 years old and people always think she is a puppy because she is so active, so playful, so energetic. I truly believe that’s because she has exercise and stimulation every single day.
#5 Have your dog’s immunization titers tested
When I heard about testing a dog’s titers before vaccinating, I was BLOWN AWAY. Meeka recently got very sick after having her annual vaccine (The parvo/distemper combo). The vet injected her once, but it went through her skin and squirted out the other side. I saw it happen and so did the vet tech. The vet then repeated the shot. Meeka had a full blown reaction about 6 hours later. She was burning up, her skin was bright red, she was panting, she was itching her ears, whining, she threw up about 10 times. The only thing that helped was Benadryl, but only for a short time. Thank the universe she ended up being fine, but I then researched vaccine reactions and found out we are usually over vaccinating our dogs. The titer test shows how much of the antibodies from the previous year’s vaccine are in your dog’s body. If they are at a certain level, they don’t need to be re-vaccinated, they already have the appropriate amount of antibodies in them. If you DO re-vaccinate and they already had it in their system, you risk your dog having a reaction like Meeka or even going into kidney failure and possibly dying. If you think about it, we vaccinate dogs every single year for the same things. We would never do that to humans (except for the flu shot, but that has different strains in it every year, so different antibodies are produced each time). So, test your dog’s titers! I know that’s what I’ll be doing next year. It make take some pushing at the vet’s office and maybe even switching vets, but it’s worth it to me.
Just for funnies…
Now tell me your tips! I love learning new things about caring for our beloved pets!!