As is true for every pet owner, we desire to keep our dogs as healthy as possible. We manage our dogs’ care and nutrition in what we believe is best for their long-term health. Here is a brief over-view of our preferences in regards to our dogs’ health care. We have formed these standards through our own experiences with dogs and through advice from our veterinarians and other experienced breeders.
Keep it natural! Dogs have an amazing immune system that can protect them from a wide variety of parasites, bacteria, and infections if given the proper support. Instead of sheltering our dogs from any possible exposure and giving them unnecessary doses of medication which can hinder their immune system’s natural functioning, we do our best to keep our dogs healthy from the inside out. We start with high- quality, nutritious food and plenty of exercise to keep their bodies in peak condition. We give appropriate supplements based on their individual needs. If this solid base of nutrition and immune system support is in place, dogs can stay extraordinarily healthy! We feel it’s best for dogs to spend a great deal of time outside. We take our dogs hiking, hunting, and swimming. This exercise and natural exposure to germs commonly found in the soil and water is part of what helps keep our dogs healthy.
Food I cannot stress the importance of a dog’s diet enough. Feeding a low-quality diet might be cheaper now, but in the long run it’s going to cost much more in terms of health and veterinary care. We choose to give our dogs nutrient-dense food made from natural ingredients that will keep them much healthier as they age. Many health issues can be prevented or successfully managed through good nutrition. I think of low-quality foods as the “pizza and chips” of the dog world. It’s easy, but it will eventually catch up with you. Instead, give the good stuff that’s packed with nutrients. It’s like replacing the pizza and chips with lean meats, fruits, and veggies. We highly recommend Life’s Abundance. It might cost a little more than some other brands, but it’s worth every penny! We have also found that with high-quality food, we don’t have to feed our dogs as much. With such nutrient-dense food, they don’t need to eat as much to be satisfied. They also give us less waste to clean up, because there’s no extra “fillers” in the food for them to poop out. 🙂
Exercise Lots of it. Do I need to say more? Run, play, hike, swim, hunt, wrestle, fetch. My vet mentioned to me once in reference to Duchess, “Wow, your dog has very muscular legs! I can tell she runs a lot!” We like to give our dogs space to run and play off-leash. We have an underground fence around our property that allows the dogs to spend a significant amount of their time running and playing as they wish.
Weight Management This goes hand-in-hand with the food and exercise. It’s very important for a dog’s long-term health to be kept at a healthy weight. It makes me sad to see so many dogs that are overweight. Extra weight adds stress on joints, contributes to diabetes, and increases a dog’s chances of a myriad of other health problems. A dog should have a defined waist when viewed from the top and side. Their ribs should be easily felt but not clearly visible. We try to keep each of our dogs at a healthy weight. Because of good nutrition and a high activity level, our dogs are lean and muscular.
Medications We keep our dogs on as little medication as possible. We feel like giving them unnecessary medication hinders the normal functioning of their immune systems and can compromise their long-term health. We work to prevent problems instead of treat them. For example, I like to regularly clean my dogs’ ears in an effort to prevent ear infections, rather than wait until an infection begins and needs treatment. If problems arise do arise, we medicate appropriately to treat them. However as a rule, we believe prevention is best!
Supplements When supplementing, we carefully consider the risks for each breed that we own. For example, Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles are prone to hip or joint problems. Because of this we like to use supplements that help protect from the problems their breeds are known to deal with. Life’s Abundance Agility Formula is great for musculoskeletal health. It helps promote healthy bones and joints and is great for Golden Retrievers and Goldendoodles. Irish Setters are highly active dogs, and although they are not as prone to bone and joint problems as Goldens, they put a lot of stress on their joints because of their intense activity level. Life’s Abundance Agility Formula is a good choice for our Irish Setters, as well.
Dewclaws We believe it is in our dog’s best interest to keep their dewclaws, as dewclaws aid in the natural functioning of a dog’s leg and movement. Removing dewclaws puts unnecessary stress on the elbows and shoulders of highly active dogs. Read more about our decision not to remove dewclaws in this blog post.
Over all, we strive to give our dogs the happiest, healthiest, and most natural life that we can!
Kristen’s Happy Tails
Life’s Abundance Independent Field Representative