I talk a lot about cats around here, but that doesn't mean I don't have a tiny smidgen of Dog person in me. We humans are complicated creatures. By comparison, dogs are a walk in the park...sometimes all it takes to make them happy is a literal walk in the park! Still, just because it doesn’t take a lot of effort to ensure they’re happy and healthy, there are still certain things that you need to do. Below are ten ways you can keep your friendly pooch fit and smiling.
Make Them Part of the Family
You don’t have a pet: you have another member of the family! Or at least, that’s what you should be thinking. Dogs like to belong in packs - it’s their nature - and if they feel excluded, then they’re going to find it very difficult to be relaxed and happy. Of course, there’s no set way to ‘make a dog feel like they’re part of the family’; you just have to show them love and know that they’ll always appreciate being allowed in wherever the rest of the Family is. So don’t make the living room off limits, for example.
Remember They’re a DogYour dog isn’t like you, even though they can’t really tell the difference: you’re all one big family! Remember that you’re going to have to show the same care and attention to your dog as you would show to a small child. Have you ever heard someone say that puppies and dogs are a lot like babies?Be aware that the weather is going to affect them differently than it’ll affect you. Think of summer, for example. You’ll be wearing shorts and t-shirts; your dog will have a thick coat of fur so they will be extra toasty! And don’t forget their paws; you’ve got shoes to protect your feet from the hot pavement or snowy sidewalk, but your dog doesn’t.
Know Their Dietary NeedsPut in plenty of research before you go shopping for dog food. It’s tempting to pick whatever brand you feel like you’ve heard of before, but this isn’t always the best option. For starters, you need to look at what’s actually inside the food; are all the ingredients good for your dog? Some dog food includes ingredients that aren’t! From there, it’s about the age and size of your dog. A well balanced will ensure they’re kept the right size and in all-around good health. Ask your vet if he/she recommends a certain for for your dog, especially if your dog is a purebred.
Daily ExerciseNo matter whether your dog is a little pooch or a giant, they’re going to need their fill of exercise each day. Not just for the benefit of their health, but to stay happy, too! Dogs have bundles of energy and love to use it. At the bare minimum, you should be taking your dog for a long walk in the morning and in the evening. Go for long enough so they’re tired by the end of the walk - this will have benefits for you too, as it’ll mean they’re all tired out and will have a peaceful evening.
Family Days OutYour dog will love their daily life if they’re well fed, loved, and going on multiple walks each day! But they also need more than that. Like humans, dogs belong in the great outdoors! Every now and again - maybe each weekend if you have the time - plan a trip with your family to the great outdoors. Your dog will love going for a long walk along the beach or exploring a park or forest. It’ll be enough to keep them happy until the next weekend...when they'll want to do it all over again!
Outside ThreatsMaking sure your dog is in sound health isn’t just about making sure you’re doing things to keep well; it’s about reacting to the other things that might make them unwell, such as fleas and ticks. Because neither of these affects humans (at least not usually), you may not always be on the lookout for them. Check this page for the symptoms of each, and learn how to treat ticks and fleas should your pet become infected. It’s important that you keep your dog safe from the obvious big threats (cars, etc.), but remember that the small threats are just important!
Regular Check-UpsYou might be able to keep an eye on what’s going on the outside of your pet’s body, but what about what’s under the hood? That’ll need an expert eye to check out. Once a year, or more often if your dog is older, make sure you’re taking your dog to the vet for a check-up. It’ll help to keep an eye on any of the dangerous diseases that can take place below the surface.
Accidents Around the HomeTraining your dog won’t just make everything more peaceful in the home: it’ll also help to keep them safe (though when training is happening, they might not be all that happy about it!). When they’re young, make sure that anything dangerous is kept out of the way - they won’t know the harm that it can do. Essentially, treat them like a young baby until they’re sufficiently under your command.
Be Aware of the BreedNot all dogs are created the same. Some face a greater threat of certain illnesses and conditions than others. You should have a thorough understanding of the common diseases that your pup may suffer from at some stage in their life, and then make sure to keep out for any symptoms. Many conditions will be manageable, but it’ll be important that they’re caught early on.
Don’t Stay StaticFinally, remember that you’ll never reach a point where your dog is ‘happy and healthy.’ These things aren’t absolute; they need to be continually worked on. The solution is not to stay static, to forever keep an eye on your dog’s health and mood. Believe it or not,
dogs can develop depression
- and we’re sure you wouldn’t want that for your family member! With a caring, proactive attitude, they’ll be happy and healthy all their life.
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