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  • Yvonne

5 Ways to be Proactive With Your Dog's Health

There's an old saying that goes: Don't trouble trouble until trouble troubles you, which loosely means don't look for problems. That nugget of wisdom might stop you from instigating a road rage episode when some one accidentally cuts you off in traffic - but when it comes to our dog's health it pays to identify potential areas of concern and adopt a pro-active approach.

Being proactive means that we have a chance to take corrective action before problems arise. While I certainly would not want anyone to worry about problems that might develop, I also think it's smart to recognize that there are a number of things we can do to facilitate good health.

It's been a frequent message from me to you to become proactive with your dog's health, and I thought it would be helpful to have a handy list in one spot to act as your guide.

5 Ways to be Proactive With Your Dog's Health

  1. Know your dog's breed, or combination of breeds. Many breeds of dogs have genetic predispositions to certain health conditions. For example, knowing that your dog has a genetic tendency towards heart disease, urinary tract disorders, or seizures, means that you can proactively select foods or supplements that may help to minimize, delay, or even prevent those illness from occurring.

  2. Feed the age. Puppies and seniors have a number of differences in nutrient and caloric requirements than dogs in other age categories. Puppies need a solid foundation of good nutrition to help them grow properly. Senior dogs have additional nutrient requirements to support their aging bodies. Puppies and senior dogs especially require marine sources of omega-3 fats (as do all dogs - but puppies and seniors in particular) to support brain health and cognition. Senior dogs may require joint support, additional anti-oxidants to combat age-related oxidative stress, and they may benefit from added digestive enzymes.

  3. Look ahead. Anticipate lifestyle or age-related nutritional support that your dog may need. If your dog is an athlete and involved in extreme sports, agility, or hunting, you will want to add supplements that will mitigate the wear and tear on her body. Consider joint support supplements for your middle aged dog before he shows age-related joint issues.

  4. Deal with the diet. Feed a nutritionally balanced, fresh food diet if at all possible, or add fresh food to your kibble fed dog's diet. Studies show that dogs fed fresh food have lower rates of cancer and diseases linked to processed diets. Feed foods that fight inflammation. Chronic inflammation is a precursor to most disease processes in the body. Click here to read my article about anti-inflammatory foods. Feed an abundance of natural sources of anti-oxidants. Anti-oxidants are powerful allies in disease prevention by limiting free radicals. Click here to read my article about anti-oxidants.

  5. Make gut health a priority. It is estimated that 85% of your dog's immune system is located in his gut. The health of the gut microbiome has a direct impact on your dog's health: a healthy gut equals a healthy dog. Make decisions on behalf of your dog that support a healthy gut microbiome. Research shows that dogs fed a wide variety of fresh food have increased numbers, and increased diversity, of gut microbes than dogs whose diets lack diversity. These colonies of diverse microbes support the gut health which, in turn, train and support the immune system. Limit exposure, where possible, to toxins that negatively impact gut microbes, e.g. artificially scented room fresheners, bleach based cleansers, herbicides, pesticides (chemical flea, tick and heartworm pharmaceuticals are pesticides). Avoid unnecessary antibiotics and antibacterial products. This article discusses gut dysbiosis in animals due to chemical exposure.

Enjoy your dog today while making proactive choices to support his good health in the future.

The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” ― Ann Wigmore

This article is for information purposes only. Every dog is different and has a different tolerance level for new foods. Always do your own research when making health decisions for your dog. You are your dog's best health care advocate.

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