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Healthy Habits You Should Start With Your Puppy Now

Little cavalier king charles spaniel puppy running outside
With proper care and lots of love, your puppy will grow up to be a happy, healthy, well-rounded dog. Depending on the size of your canine - smaller dogs live longer than larger breeds do - your puppy can live up to a decade or longer.

Healthy habits you start when your pup is young are not only easier to follow when your puppy grows up but also help improve your canine friend's quality of life. Here are healthy habits you can begin today to extend the life of your puppy and give them the healthiest years possible.

Socialization 

Dogs are naturally pack animals and love to socialize. You should socialize your puppy as much as you can when they are young, exposing them to parks, ballgames, nature paths, other dogs, children, and adults of both sexes. A well-rounded dog is a dog who is confident, easygoing, calm, and energetic - all essential keys to your puppy's long and healthy life.

Before socializing your puppy, take your canine to your vet for a complete checkup and full vaccinations. Always keep your puppy on a leash or in a fenced-in area when socializing your canine so you can keep them and other animals safe.

Teeth Brushing 

Special toothbrushes (and even toothpaste) are designed for canine use. Brushing your puppy's teeth keeps their baby teeth from getting infected, and the habit keeps your dog's permanent teeth and gums healthier and fresher smelling throughout life.

It will take a few attempts to brush your dog's teeth to get them used to the regimen, but once your pup realizes they get a reward at the end of the task (consider playful toys over treats), your puppy will soon eagerly accept teeth brushing to prevent dental decay and poor oral health.

Your dog's veterinarian will recommend certain types of toothbrushes or toothpastes for your puppy. Brush their teeth professionally as suggested by your vet to keep your dog's teeth healthy throughout their life.

Exercise 

While it's fun to lie on the couch and scratch your puppy's belly all day, what your dog really needs is exercise. Obesity in dogs is dangerous like it is in people, leading to joint problems, lethargy, heart problems, joint issues, and premature death.

Your dog's age, activity level, and breed determines how much exercise your furry friend needs daily. Talk to your vet about exercises that are healthy for your pup, such as swimming or playing fetch. Even if your dog only needs minimal exercise daily, a simple walk on a leash can do wonders for your canine's current and future health - not to mention yours.

Feeding 

A balanced diet, including the dog food you feed your puppy, provides enough protein and fiber to keep your dog's coat, gums, and organs healthy while your pup grows. Feed your dog the recommended food by your veterinarian so their muscles and joints grow sufficiently, particularly if you have a larger-breed pup.

The sooner you incorporate healthy habits into your puppy's life, the easier it will be for your dog to adjust to a healthier lifestyle. With regular vet visits and successful at-home care, your puppy should live a long, healthy, and fulfilling life. Call us at Erickson Veterinary Hospital for all your veterinary care needs.