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Dr. Jeff Werber, or "Doc Hollywood", is famous for keeping celebrity pets healthy and happy. During his 30 years of experience in veterinary medicine and journalism, Dr. Werber has appeared on numerous TV shows as an expert and has treated the dog of stars like Eva Longoria, Nick Jonas, Demi Moore, Emmy Rossum and more.
Now, Dr. Werber is sharing the same tips he gives celebrities with us. The veterinarian gave PEOPLE answers to common questions his famous clients ask — and offered his expert advice on how to keep your dog in optimal shape.
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What are the health tips you give to first-time dog owners?
First off, it's really important to implement standard healthy habits for your pup the minute you bring him home. Putting your dog on a good diet with plenty of exercise is going to be crucial not only for the dog's health, but also your relationship long-term.
Your dog's food is going to be key in maintaining a healthy weight from a young age. There's this vicious cycle when it comes to a dog's weight and energy – the larger they get, the less they do. That's why it's important to talk with your vet at the get-go about feeding him a high-quality food that will help give him the energy he needs to stay active.
I feed my dog IAMS dog food (Dr. Werber is a spokesperson for the brand) because it's made with these premium ingredients that aid in healthy energy, including farm-raised chicken and beef to help with long-term energy storage and wholesome grains for healthy short-term energy. With that increased energy, your dog will be able to enjoy longer walks and in general, spend more time with you! At the end of the day, a healthy dog is a visibly happy dog.
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What are some misconceptions that owners have about dog health?
There are a few of these out there. It's important for owners to take their dogs' health seriously. For example: What owner doesn't want to treat their dog? There's a right way to do that, and it's not feeding him scraps off the table at Thanksgiving.
Taking your pets' diets seriously is going to be paramount to a long and happy life. Similarly, feeding your pet doesn't necessarily equal love. Overfeeding your pup can lead to a plethora of problems – so try showcasing your love in other ways like going on a walk to his favorite park or playing with his favorite toy.
Another misconception is that you don't have to implement a daily teeth-cleaning regimen. If your dog's teeth aren't clean, that creates plaque and then plaque becomes tartar, which could lead to serious dental diseases.
Finally, information you find on the Internet is not always going to be 100 percent accurate! I can't stress enough the importance of maintaining a strong relationship with your veterinarian in getting the proper answers to issues unique to your dog. Don't confuse Google with medical expertise.
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What are some common dog health issues you see? How do you resolve them?
Obesity is a common health issue for dogs that I tend to see with my clients. Three out of four overweight puppies will grow up to be overweight dogs, and experts say that by 9 months of age, we can actually tell whether a puppy will be obese. It's critical to make the necessary adjustments in your dog's diet and regulate calorie intake as they mature from puppy to young adult, mature adult and ultimately to a senior.
Another thing to keep in mind: there are a plethora of conditions associated with obesity, including potential increase in cardiovascular disease and diabetes. These dangerous diseases could all stem from obesity, so be sure to consult with your vet to get the appropriate treatment for your dog.
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What is the easiest way to keep my dog healthy?
In my 30-plus years as a vet, I've come to learn that one basic yet very important thing dog owners can do, across the board, is dedicate time to keeping their pups active.
Of course, individual needs of each dog may be different based on size, age or lifestyle, but the best way to implement healthy habits that enable energy is with quality food, as mentioned before.
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What's the best way to help your obese dog lose weight?
Sadly, 53 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese, making this the No. 1 nutritional disease affecting our dogs today. The good news is that you can help your dog get on the right track — and stay there — by allowing for proper exercise and simply feeding him a high-quality and well-balanced diet from the time he's a puppy. A few ingredients dog owners should look for: high-quality proteins for long-term energy, healthy grains to provide a good source of carbs to maintain a healthy blood glucose level and probiotics to aid digestion.