As a dog owner, your number one priority is keeping your furry friend as happy and healthy as possible. No matter how young or old they are, they need to be properly looked after in order to life a fulfilled life.
Whether you’re a first-time dog owner or you’ve been a proud dog parent for years, it can be difficult knowing exactly what you need to do to ensure your pet remains healthy. How much exercise do they need? How much water do you add to their dehydrated dog food? Do they need any one-off or regular vaccinations?
Although every dog is unique, there are some general tips and tricks that every dog owner can follow to ensure their pet’s needs are met. Here are some of the best things you can do to keep your furry friend healthy.
Allow Them to Exercise Daily
Exercise is extremely important for dogs. Just like humans, every dog has unique needs when it comes to the exact amount of exercise they will need. Factors like age, size, and breed affect their exercise needs.
However, there are general guidelines that are suitable for most dogs. As a general recommendation, dogs need anywhere from 30 minutes of exercise to two hours a day.
If you have a smaller dog, such as a Chihuahua or a Shih Tzu, aim for around 30 minutes of movement a day. This can be achieved by taking them on a long trip to the park or splitting their exercise up into three 10 minutes walks.
Medium-sized dogs, such as Jack Russels or a Wofhounds, are able to tolerate more exercise, so you should aim for around 45-60 minutes of movements each day. Again, this can be split up into shorter stints of exercise if your dog seems to prefer this.
Larger dogs or giant breeds, such as Great Danes, Labradors, or Golden Retrievers, are usually best suited for anywhere between one to hours of exercise a day. They love bounding around the park or playing ball in the garden, so get involved and get your daily steps in too!
If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise, it can lead to health problems. They may become overweight and this can increase their risk of joint problems or heart disease. Yes, dogs can suffer from arthritis and heart disease, just like humans!
Aside from the physical health conditions associated with lack of exercise, dogs may also start to become aggressive if they’re not moving enough. They might start chewing, biting, or destroying items in your house. Dogs can also begin to bite and snap at people when they’re lacking exercise, and this is a huge safety concern for you and your family
These behaviors occur because your dog becomes hyperactive because they need to burn more energy than they are doing when they’re sitting at home all day. A quick walk around the block each morning and evening can do the trick and stop them from chewing or biting.
Get Their Nutrition Right
When you walk down the pet food aisle at the grocery store, you’re faced with a huge range of different brands and types of food.
You could pick the cheapest option and your dog might be perfectly happy. Many dogs aren’t too fussed about the exact food that you give to them. But if you want to maximize their health, it’s worth spending some time finding the perfect food for them.
Asking the vet for their recommendations is one way to go about discovering the optimal diet for your furry friend. You can also do your own experimentation. Sometimes a bit of trial and error is all you need to figure out what’s best for your pet!
Feed your dog one type of food for a few weeks and see how they respond. Do they have extra energy? Do they seem happier in themselves? Or has the food upset their stomach or caused them to become hyperactive?
Avoid feeding them leftovers from your dinner. Often, the sauces and artificial ingredients that are added to our foods are not appropriate for dogs. No matter how much they are begging you for food at the dinner table, try to resist the puppy dog eyes!
It’s important to remember that you dog’s nutritional needs can change throughout their lifetimes. You should always keep an eye on how they are responding to the foods you are feeding them and make adjustment if necessary.
And, of course, don’t forget about hydration! Your dog will need lots of fresh, clean water, especially after they’ve been on a walk and during the hot summer days.
Allow Them to Socialize and Explore New Places
Dogs thrive through socialization. This involves introducing them to new humans, animals, and places. They love exploring and finding new things to sniff and discover.
Socialization is vital to your dog’s mental health and it helps to keep them better behaved. They’re less likely to display aggressive or disruptive behaviors when they’re constantly able to meet new people and explore new places.
Enabling your dog to socialize can be as simple and easy as taking them to the park and allowing them to play with other dogs. You can also take them on walks in new and exciting places each week. Maybe there’s a large national park nearby or some woodlands that you can both walk through.
Exposing your furry friend to new experiences will reduce their general feelings of anxiety or nervousness too. They will get used to being in unfamiliar environments and this can give them a boost of confidence when faced with new situations.
Be aware that if your dog is newly-adopted or they are still fairly young, you might be better establishing some sort of routine before branching out to new places. When you do take your dog somewhere they’ve never been before, keep them on their lead until they’re comfortable in their new surroundings.