In previous articles, we have discussed ways to maintain the wellbeing of your dog and help it grow healthier by steering clear of processed/canned food and making sure it gets the exercise it regularly needs. However, there still is another big factor that can affect your pup’s health for better or worse; your home and yard. The environment in question here basically includes the following:
The air it breathes
The ground it walks on
The yard/ surrounding garden it plays in
The bed it sleeps in
The toys it uses
How is a dog’s health influenced by its surrounding environment?
When your dog is exposed to chemical droplets in the air, say from a can of hairspray or any product one uses on a daily basis, its immune system automatically marks the air breathed as an intruder. Your dog’s respiratory system is not used to air that has foreign particles, and therefore its immune system starts to work on fighting the strange “trespasser.”
Putting the immune system to constant work stresses it out
Sometimes this whole process stops at a few sneezes. The problem happens when the immune system delves deeper into the arsenal and starts alarming the biochemistry in the body to kick the intruder out. This could lead to the dispatching of a huge amount of white blood cells in hopes of fighting the bacteria. The result isn’t the problematic side of the story- the immune system usually succeeds. It’s the procedure itself that tends to exhaust the immune system when frequently repeated.
While you can’t change the level of pollution in the city, you can protect your dog from the environment around your place. Here’s what you can do to help ease the stress on your dog’s immune system:
Secure your home
Make sure there aren’t any fumes or toxic substances at your place. These don’t necessarily have to be inhaled, we are also talking about chemicals that could land on your pup’s paws and skin.
If you want to paint your walls, refrain from using oil-based paint. It contains chemicals that may be damaging to the long-term health of your dog.
Replace air fresheners around your place with something that has a natural aroma.
Avoid smoking indoors. You surely don’t want your pup to be forced into passive smoking.
Don’t let your dog into a chlorine-filled pool
Avoid contact with your dog after having applied any skin moisturizers, as they tend to lick your skin and with it the chemicals you had applied.
Change the food and water bowls
Aside from the things one should avoid, there are many things lying around your home that should be replaced with items friendlier to your dog. Let’s start with the things the dog uses, like its eating bowl. Replace any plastic bowls, as some dogs are allergic to the substance. Eating or drinking from plates made of plastic could then cause pimples and acne on the chin and the nose. Plastic also develops abrasions and nicks that can be very irritating to the skin. Instead, you can use plates and bowls made of stainless steel, ceramic or glass (although the latter is not recommended, as dogs tend to be clumsy and could get hurt in the process.)
Replace tap water
While tap water might be labeled safe, it is still not trustworthy. The community’s standards of safe substances are constantly changing; many chemicals once regarded as secure are now perceived as harmful. Tap water in your city can have chlorine, heavy metals, and fluoride. Consider giving your dog bottled mineral water or filtered water instead. While distilled water may lack essential minerals, you could buy those from a health food store and it is certainly a better solution than water that could have harmful additives and other contaminants.
Cleanse the air in your home
This may not be necessary for all dogs, but if you notice your dog having allergies, consider adding a HEPA filter to the ventilation system at your place. What you should refrain from doing at all costs is smoking inside the house. Enjoy your cigarette outdoors or in the comfort of your balcony to protect your dog’s lungs from harm it didn’t ask for.
If you are redecorating your home, beware of the risky products that oftentimes happen to be loaded with chemicals. Paint, for example, can be harmful to your furry friend. Some paints release VOCs ( volatile organic compounds) that include formaldehyde into the atmosphere of your home. Make sure to look for low VOC products when remodeling your place, so make sure you read the label before buying any products.
Prevent fleas, ticks, and heartworm
Insects are not just bad for the hygiene, they are also carriers of diseases and can be very dangerous. Sometimes, they even are the diseases themselves. Ask your vet about an effective solution to keep your dog free of ticks and fleas, as well as mosquitos. These small flying creatures carry a vicious parasite called heartworm and while you might have to vaccinate your dog, it is better to protect it from a deadly parasite than have its life put at risk.