By Lidja Gillmeister, DVM
Adding a dog to your family can be exciting, exhilarating and challenging; and whether this is your first new puppy or simply the latest addition to your furry brood, certain questions and concerns are bound to arise. Either way, it is important to welcome the new addition with a firm plan for health and a happy routine. If you have
questions about dog health
, consider the following tips as guidelines for getting your new pet’s life off to a great start.
Food & Nutrition
It can be tempting to spoil a new pet, especially when it comes to frequent snacks and treats from the dinner table. But unfortunately, it is critical that pet owners resist sharing food – both for their own convenience and the dog’s long-term health. Feeding dogs “people food” is unhealthy and can lead to obesity and medical problems, not to mention obedience issues down the road. Instead of caving to temptation, set up a regular feeding schedule for your dog and keep track of his daily portions. This way, you’ll always know that your furry friend has had enough to eat – and feel free to enjoy your own supper with a clear conscience.
Exercise & Activity
Many dogs thrive on physical activity – and let’s face it, most of us humans could use a bit more exercise in our lives as well. Combine healthy habits for yourself and your pet by incorporating daily walks into your dog’s routine: these walks will help potty train your dog and familiarize her with your surroundings. Remember to use a leash to keep your dog safe (and in many areas, to comply with mandatory leash laws). As your dog becomes familiar with walking routines, start mixing it up with hikes or bike rides, and incorporate high-energy activities like playing ball or Fetch. All of these routines will keep you and your dog fit for years to come.
Intelligence & Discipline
Mental health and discipline are important factors for pets as well as humans. To keep your pet sharp, encourage him to think by playing games and teaching him tricks. Use these games to reinforce basic commands (“sit,” “stay,” etc.) and you will entertain your pet while simultaneously teaching important tools for safety and obedience.
Pay a visit to the vet
Last but not least, it is important to initiate a healthy lifestyle for your dog with a visit to the veterinarian for routine tests, vaccinations and a physical exam. Together with the above tips, veterinary check-ups are the best way to keep your dog fit and healthy for years to come. To learn more about caring for a new dog, or to schedule an appointment, visit us online at
La Jolla Veterinary Hospital