Dogs are amazing animals that bring joy to our lives in too many ways to count. They provide us with companionship, loyalty, and unconditional love. It's no wonder that we want to do everything we can to keep them happy and healthy!
We'll discuss 7 helpful ways to keep your dog healthy and happy all year long in this post.
1) Proactive Care
It's always better to proactively care for your dog rather than waiting for a problem to show up. So what does proactive care look like?
One way to do this is frequent grooming so their skin and the rest of their body stays clean and healthy. This means brushing often, cleaning their ears, brushing their teeth, and having a good bathing schedule (roughly every 6-10 weeks).
You can also do things like add supplements to your dog's daily diet. Things like fish oils to help with their skin and probiotics to keep their gut in good health. Another great way to stay on top of things is to make sure to bring your dog to the vet at least twice a year. General checkups are great for finding things before they turn into anything serious.
Also, if you love tech and like having the latest gadgets, there are smart collars that give you the ability to better read your dog's health on a day-to-day basis.
The more you can stay on top of your dog's condition, the better chance they'll have at staying happy and healthy all year long.
2) Plenty Of Exercise
Dogs love to play and they need to exercise every day to stay healthy. How much exercise your pup needs will depend on their age, breed, and overall health.
Puppies and young dogs generally need more exercise than older dogs since they have so much energy to burn off. A good rule of thumb is 20-30 minutes of exercise for young puppies and 30-60+ minutes for teenage/adult dogs. Senior dogs may not be able to handle as much exercise as they once could but that doesn't mean they don't still need to get out and about.
When taking your dog outside, harnesses are becoming more and more of a popular choice because of how they distribute pulling pressure. Harnesses move the pulling pressure to your dog's chest as opposed to having it on their throat which makes exercise a more enjoyable experience.
It's also important to keep things fresh when it comes to your dog's exercise. Doing special things like going for a swim (if your dog likes the water), going for a hike, or taking trips to the dog park. Dogs love the routine of their daily walks but it's also a good idea to add in some variability every once and a while.
3) Mentally Stimulating Activities
Just like physical exercise, dogs need mental stimulation to stay happy and healthy. One way to provide this is through training. Dogs love to learn new things and it helps to keep their minds sharp as they age.
Another great way to provide mental stimulation is through the use of interactive puzzle toys. These are toys that require your dog to figure out how to get to a treat inside. They're a great way to keep your dog's mind challenged and engaged.
4) Healthy Diet
As with humans, a dog's diet plays a big role in their overall health. Dogs need high-quality proteins, fats, carbs, vitamins, and minerals to function properly.
The general rule of thumb is you want 90% of your dog's calorie intake to be their main food source. Whether that's regular kibble, freeze-dried dog food, or wet or raw dog food. The other 10% can be treats and healthy snacks.
On top of that, just as it's important not to overfeed your pup it's also important not to underfeed them since both can lead to health problems down the road. It's never a bad idea to talk to your vet about what type of food is best for your pup and how much they should be eating each day if you’re at all unsure.
5) Don't Forget About Safety!
Safety is another important thing to keep in mind. While training is great for stimulating your dog's mind, it's also important for safety. If your dog doesn't listen to your commands, they can get themselves into dangerous situations that could have otherwise been avoided if they listened to you.
Ensuring your pup understands basic commands like sit, stay, lie down, off, etc., is incredibly important for their long-term wellbeing.
Another way to help keep your dog safe is by being aware of potential hazards in your home and taking steps to prevent them from getting to them. This includes things like keeping toxic plants out of reach, putting away medications, and securing any appliances or furniture that could be accidentally tipped over.
6) Plenty Of Love & Affection
Dogs are social animals by nature, and they thrive on human interaction.
Make sure you're taking the time to give your dog plenty of attention throughout the week. This includes things like petting them, cuddle time, playing with them, and spending time talking to them.
Life can get pretty busy sometimes, but it's important not to forget about making time for your dog. Outside of taking care of their basic necessities (food/water, shelter, exercise, etc.), the only thing they really want is your attention!
7) Socialization Opportunities
Last but not least, socialization is another important aspect of keeping your dog happy and healthy. Dogs need to interact with other dogs and people on a regular basis in order to stay well-adjusted.
If you have a puppy, it's important to start socializing them early on, so they get used to being around other dogs and people. This will help prevent any behavioral problems from developing later on in life. But it's also important to continue to socialize your dog as they get older as well.
There are a number of ways to socialize your dog. You can take them to the dog park, doggy daycare, group training classes, or even have play dates with a friend's dog.
The most important thing is that you make an effort to provide opportunities for socialization on a regular basis.
Keeping your dog happy and healthy is important for both of you. Fortunately, there are many different ways to do this. From ensuring they get plenty of exercise to providing them with the best food and toys, following these tips will help make sure your furry friend lives a long and joyful life by your side.
About the author: Alec Littlejohn grew up in a family of vets where pet care was discussed on a daily basis. He’s also a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers, a recognized author by the Dog Writers Association Of America, and now the lead editor at Pawscessories.