Hello, my name is Dr Paul Manktelow and I’ve been a vet for almost 20 years, working on the front line in some of the UK’s busiest veterinary hospitals.
I’m often asked what are my top tips to keep dogs healthy and happy? My go-to place for this kind of advice is the 5 welfare needs which are a great framework to ensure that owners can meet the wellbeing needs of their dogs.
Tip # 1 Health
Tip one is under the welfare need of health. And my top tip here is to ‘be your own vet’. Many owners rely on the annual health checks by your vet to pick up any issues but my advice is to do your own weekly nose to tail checks of your dog, that’s 52 health checks a year compared to just one and this will definitely ensure that you pick up any issues nice and early.
Tip # 2 Behaviour
Tip two is the 2nd welfare need of behaviour and my tip is here is that a calm dog is a happy dog. Of course, dogs need to be able to express themselves and be happy and jump and play. But on the most part, they should be calm and confident and look to you for guidance and leadership. 12% of dog owners have never undertaken any type of training with their dog but I’d recommend short training sessions for every dog every day.
Tip # 3 Companionship
Tip number three is companionship. Now, this is really important since dogs are sociable animals so my tip here is don’t allow your dog to get lonely. At least 1 in 5 of dog owners admit to leaving their dog alone for at least 5 hours a day. this is too long. There are so many doggy daycares, dog walkers and sitters so please please use these services if you’re not going to be around.
Tip # 4 Diet
Tip number four is diet! My simple tip here is to feed the right food, at the right time in the right amounts. Dog obesity is on the rise so don’t become part of the statistics. Focus less on weight and more on body condition score to keep track of your dog’s progress.
Tip # 5 Environment
This welfare need is about providing the right environment. And an important part of this is regular exercise. My tip here is to make your walks longer. We know that Walkies stimulate both the mental and physical health of our dogs but around 42% of our dogs are being walked for less than 30 minutes a day, this is not enough. The great thing here is that longer walks are not just good for our dog’s health, they are also great for our own.
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DogLife360's healthcare expert, Dr Paul Manktelow, is Principal Vet at PDSA, Streetvet Trustee TV, Radio and Podcast Presenter, Writer, and Founder of Vital Pet Health. Read more from Dr Paul Manktelow: