5 Tips to Make Sure Your Dog Is Healthy and Happy
Having a dog can be one of the most fulfilling things you do in life, but taking care of a dog is a huge commitment. Your furry friend requires not only love and affection, but also care, nourishment, regular veterinary visits, training, and more. If you want to make sure your dog stays both healthy and happy, the following tips can help. By regularly taking steps to make sure your dog is thriving, you can help him live as long and as enjoyable a life as possible.
1. Find a Vet and Go Regularly
If your dog isn't having any major health problems, you may not think to take him to the vet. However, if you take your dog to the vet regularly, you can ensure that he stays healthy and catch any conditions or diseases before they become severe. If you get to know your vet and your vet gets to know your dog, he can spot anything that's off with your furry friend or notice if he seems unwell. Your vet can also administer important regular treatments, like HeartGard Plus, which keeps heartworms away. Having a good relationship with your vet also means that you have someone to call if you have questions about your dog's health, or if he gets sick or injured unexpectedly.
2. Go on Walks
You might have a fenced yard for your dog to run around and play in. However, no matter whether your dog can go outside and run or not, you still need to take your dog on regular walks. Walks are an important way for your dog to get exercise, expend energy and keep his heart healthy. Walks also stimulate your dog’s mind -- allowing him to see new sights, smell new smells and encounter new people (or animals). In addition to all of the health benefits of going on walks, walks are great for human health, too, and they can be an excellent chance for you to spend some quality time with your pooch. When you go on walks, try experimenting with different routes, streets in your neighborhoods, trails and parks. The more you mix things up for your dog, the more likely each walk is to feel fun, exciting, and invigorating to you both.
3. Learn Your Dog's Mannerisms and Preferred Ways to Communicate
Dogs are like humans - they communicate what they want, need, and feel - they just don't know how to use English to do it! Instead, dogs find regular ways to communicate with humans, such as crying, barking, offering you a paw, through their body language, and many, many more. Learn the ways your dog prefers to communicate, and what those mean. That way, you can ensure you're meeting the dog’s needs (just don't let him or her boss you around!) Another reason it's important to understand how your dog communicates is that it can help you spot if your dog is feeling off, since he can't tell you with words. If you know your dog well and he seems sluggish, not communicative, or seems to be using different mannerisms - you'll notice. This can ensure that you spot any health problems right away.
4. Stimulate Your Dog's Mind
Your dog may seem to enjoy snoozing all day, but just like you, his mind actually needs to be stimulated in order for him to stay happy. Dogs who don't get enough mental stimulation can get depressed, behave badly, and destroy items they shouldn't. There are many ways to stimulate your dog's mind, including puzzles that hide food and toys that make sounds and have different textures. You can also play games with your dog like fetch, or have him do agility exercises. Stimulating your dog's mind regularly ensures that he's not bored, and it also gets out excess energy that you don't want redirected to another place (i.e. your shoes or couch).
5. Choose the Right Food For Your Dog
Your dog's food can have a major impact on his quality of life. For that reason, it's important to be deliberate about what you feed your dog, day and in and day out. The first step to finding the right food for your dog is consulting with your vet. He or she may have ideas about what foods will best suit your dog's health needs. You should ensure that you feed your dog a food that is intended for his age group. A puppy eats a very different diet than a senior dog does. Also, in general, you should make sure that the food you choose to feed your dog doesn't have a grain, a tuber (potato) or a vegetable as the main ingredient (the main ingredient in your dog's food should never be corn). If you end up with a dog who's a picky eater, try experimenting with several foods until you find a meal your pup will like.
Having a dog is a wonderful way to add love and meaning into your life. By regularly taking steps to make sure that your dog is healthy and happy, you can ensure that your dog lives the best life possible.