5 Habits That Help Your Dog Enjoy Healthy Bones and Muscles
As your four-legged best friend, looking after your dog is probably one of the most significant responsibilities you have. You want to guarantee they are healthy and active so that they can stay by your side for as long as possible.
A dog who has led an active life and who has maintained strong bones, joints and muscles will have fewer health issues throughout the course of their life.
While pets require many of the same things as humans for bone health, they do need some distinctive approaches. Here are five habits that help your pet enjoy healthy bones and muscles.
1. Commit to daily exercise
If you were looking to tone your body, where would you start? Probably with some daily exercise, right? This should be the same starting point for dogs. If you want to strengthen your dog's bone strength then the most efficient way to do it is through rigorous physical exercises.
Right here, right now, make a commitment to yourself and to your four-legged friend that you are going to take them out for a walk every day. Choose a time you know will consistently work for you and make it part of your routine. If necessary, write it into your schedule as though it were a meeting.
If you aren't physically able to exercise with your dog, consider working with a reputable dog walking company whose trained staff will know how to appropriately get your dog moving.
Not only will daily exercise aid in maintaining your dog’s bones and muscles, but it will also reduce the likelihood of obesity and prevent diabetes, as exercise enables metabolism to speed up – thereby making it easier for him or her to digest carbohydrates.
2. Ensure a well-balanced species-appropriate nutritional diet
Just like humans, for your dog to have good health and strong bones and muscles, he or she needs to have a well-balanced species-appropriate nutritional diet. Different species have varying requirements, so always discuss your dog's diet with your vet.
When you do go food shopping, make sure you are reading the labels and checking the ingredients of the dog food you are considering. For bone and joint strength, your dog should be consuming dog food that includes vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus. Meeting your dog’s nutritional needs is the very best thing you can do for his or her bone health.
3. Don't overfeed
That being said, it is also crucial that you don't overfeed your dog – no matter how lovingly he or she looks at you when they are craving a treat. Bypass treats that don’t contribute much nutritional value and instead opt for natural snacks that contain reduced trans fats and a more substantial amount of protein, and bone and joint supporting nutrients.
4. Supplement, if necessary
In a perfect world, you would be providing your dog with a balanced diet containing sufficient amounts of vitamin D, calcium and phosphorus, indicating no need for additional supplementation. In fact, too many nutrients can cause just as many problems as too few.
However, there are a couple of supplements that may be necessary. If your dog is already suffering from bone and joint problems, then omega-3 fatty acid supplements can be of major assistance.
If you are merely looking to strengthen the joints and bones of your dog, consider giving them a glucosamine supplement. There are plenty of vet-approved, over the counter supplements that are high in healthy glucosamine levels for your dog.
5. Take every opportunity to have fun
In addition to daily exercise (revert to #1), always take every opportunity to encourage your dog to run around and play. Dogs tend to store lots of energy, which ultimately needs to be released at some point!
Whether you choose to teach your dog to jump (a fantastic way to develop healthy bones and enhanced agility), or introduce them to tug-of-war (a fabulous game for working out their leg bones and shoulder bones), you want them to be moving as much as possible.
Additionally, a quick round of fetch builds up your dog’s cardio and endurance levels. And, a doggy play date can be a considerable amount of fun for both of you!
Healthy inside and out
Just because your dog seems to be healthy from the outside, doesn't mean that you can disregard their health and the steps that are necessary to maintain it.
Unfortunately, too many dogs suffer from internal bone deficiency without needing to. By following these habits, you can be assured that you are doing everything in your power to keep your beloved four-legged friend healthy and safe.
What habits do you have for keeping your dog healthy and energetic? Share your wisdom with us in the comments below!
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet's Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics.