Emotional support dogs can be great for helping people mitigate the symptoms of emotional or mental disabilities like anxiety, depression, or PTSD. If you have been prescribed an emotional support dog, you’ll want your canine friend to stay healthy. Here are five ways of ensuring your dog stays in good health.
1. Provide your dog with the right diet
Once you have your ESA certification, you can get your emotional support dog. Like any type of animal, for your dog to stay healthy, they must have a nutritious diet. So, giving your dog the right type of food and the right amount of food each day needs to be a top priority. You should look at what the right diet is for your particular breed before the dog comes to live with you.
Your dog’s diet directly affects important characteristics like skin, coat, weight, gastrointestinal function, and level of energy. When you first select your dog’s diet, monitor how your dog responds over the first eight weeks. You need to ensure the food is doing what it should do and there are no intolerances. So, pay attention to the look of your dog’s coat, their energy level, and their weight.
If there are any issues, you should try another diet that is recommended by a veterinarian.
2. Make sure your dog gets regular exercise
All dogs need to walk and run every day to stay healthy. So, make sure your emotional support dog gets the right amount of routine exercise. Different breeds have different fitness requirements, so be sure to research how often you should walk your specific type of dog each day. If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise, they may soon start to act up and could exhibit destructive and anxious behavior. A dog needs to release their energy through exercise and activity.
Plus, going for walks each day yourself, and getting fresh air into your lungs, will benefit your mental health as much as it will benefit your dog’s physical and mental health.
3. Provide your dog with regular dental care
If plaque and tartar build up in your dog’s teeth, it could lead to serious health issues. Therefore, make sure your dog’s teeth are cleaned regularly. Don’t wait until you smell bad breath on your dog, which can be a sign that they need dental care. Brush your dog’s teeth and use oral rinses and dental treats on a regular basis to ensure your dog’s teeth stay strong and healthy.
Also, it’s a good idea to book professional teeth cleanings for your emotional support dog every now and then. And PS - pet insurance like Figo can help reimburse you for eligible routine dental expenses!
4. Regularly groom your dog
All dogs should be groomed regularly to help their basic physical upkeep. The exact grooming that needs to be done will depend on the breed of dog you have, so be sure to research it or ask a veterinarian before you get your emotional support dog. Also, your dog could have special needs due to an allergy or another health condition, so that’s another reason to consult a veterinarian.
Short-haired dogs typically need to be brushed out every week or two while long-haired dogs need brushing every day. You should trim your dog’s nails monthly and give them a bath at least once a month.
After you have determined the precise grooming needs for your specific dog, consider whether you can do everything yourself or whether it would be easier to hire a professional to do things like cut nails.
5. Visit a veterinarian once a year
One last thing. Make sure you take your dog to see a veterinarian at least once a year; even if your dog seems fit and healthy. Preventative care can catch any conditions before they snowball!
As your dog gets older, you should visit the veterinarian more often, as older dogs will have more health problems and medical needs.
Nadine is a health coach and writer who helps her clients achieve phenomenal and sustainable results by combining nutrition, fitness, and fun! She believes primarily in living a happy life, and that the backbone of any lifestyle is that it must be sustainable and enjoyable.
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