5-day challenge to better your dog's health

Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Jun 18 2015

Are you doing everything you can to ensure your dog is the healthiest he can be? Remember, without a voice (or opposable thumbs), your pet relies on you for his health. Complete our 5-day challenge to make him glad he does!

Day 1: Weigh your pet.

Over half the pet population is overweight; if your canine is in the club, all of that extra weight is straining his joints and overall health. Talk to your veterinarian about the ideal weight for your pet, and adjust his diet accordingly.

Challenge: Switch out rawhides for carrots and download an exercise tracking app to monitor your pet’s (and your own) activity level.

Day 2: Tag it.

Make sure your pet has identification at all times. A collar with tags is a good start, but a microchip is even better (it’s permanent!). Tags have gone high tech since the last time you probably bought one; now they can be printed with a QR code that links to your full contact information and other details (like medical conditions) you need someone to know if they find your pet. If you prefer the low-tech route, make sure the tag includes your phone number and city/state. Location details can help make the search for you easier if your pet wanders far from home.

Challenge: Worn, faded tags defeat the purpose if no one can read them. Upgrade your dog’s ID!

Day 3: Quit procrastinating.

Most pet owners have at least one pet health item that never makes it to the top of the “to do” list. Is your dog due for vaccines? A nail trim or grooming? An annual or semi-annual exam? Maybe you’ve been meaning to research a different diet, or thinking about (but never getting around to) getting pet insurance – whatever’s on your list, it’s time to cross it off!

Challenge: Tackle it today.

Day 4: Try something new.

You know that exercise is important for your pet’s physical fitness, but our dogs need to exercise their minds as well – especially to help stave off cognitive decline as they age. Something as small as changing up your daily walking route, switching out your dog’s toys for different ones, trying a few training tricks or giving your pup a puzzle toy can contribute to a sharper mind.

Challenge: Tickle his brain! Do one thing differently today to keep Rover on his toes, and add a few “surprises” to each week to keep his brain boosted.

Day 5: Check in with your pet.

One of the best things you can do for your pet’s health is to notice the “little” things and be proactive. Feel for new lumps and bumps. Monitor your pet’s appetite and energy level. Is she eating less than she used to? Playing less? Drinking more? These little things can have big health implications and you should always bring them up to your vet.

Challenge: Jot down a few notes about your pet to start forming a baseline of what’s normal (there are apps that track this, too). You can update your log once a month when you give your pup parasite preventives, and take it with you to your next vet appointment to discuss any changes.

Planning to take our 5-day challenge? Tell us about it in the comments!