We all want to keep our dog happy and healthy throughout their life. As June was Pet Preparedness Month, let’s look at some of the ways that we can have a happy and healthy pup every day with just a few simple tips.
1. Go For A Walk… But Keep The Weather In Mind
Daily walks are great for many reasons, exercise, bonding time, and they’re great for keeping your dog’s nervous energy down when you’re away at work all day. Even though it might be a mild 75 degrees out there, that pavement is anything but cool. Hot pavement on a mid-day walk could burn your pup’s pads, so picking up a pair of booties might be best (your dog can also wear these in cold weather or while hiking). Hot or cold weather can hold a host of uncomfortable situations for your dog. In cold weather, depending on the breed and size of your dog, a jacket or sweater would be a smart purchase.
2. Doing Puzzles
Maybe not the NY Times Crossword, but your dog loves a challenge to keep their mind active. You can create a host of games to keep them busy and their minds sharp. Food motivated dogs will love a game that has them looking for buried treat treasure, while others might like the physical challenge of agility training. The key is finding something that you and, most importantly, your dog will love.
3. Obedience Training
Some of the first steps to having a happy dog (and a happy owner) is to teach your dog The Basics. That can be done on your own, privately with a trainer, or in a group class (with an added bonus of socialization). As mentioned above, regular training will help burn off some of that mental energy. Once you have mastered The Basics, you can start to teach your dog new tricks to keep them sharp — and you can impress your friends with how cool and smart your dog is.
4. Play More
If you haven’t caught on, your dog just loves to be right by your side. Unlike obedience training, this doesn’t have to be a time for learning, it can simply be a game of fetch or Frisbee. The benefits for your dog are endless, all they want is a little attention and for you to throw that tennis ball.
Dogs thrive on consistency. They like a schedule and sticking to it. Your dog turns to you for guidance; if you don’t want them on the couch, make sure that you keep that a constant rule and, in turn, it will ensure that your dog stays off of the couch. Keeping a consistent schedule is not just beneficial to you, it’s something that your dog will appreciate in the long run.
Dog parks, encountering dogs on daily walks, having them accompany you when you go to grab a coffee, are all good ways to get your dog out of the house and to socialize with the outside world. Socializing not only with other dogs but with other people will help boost your dog’s confidence in busy or disruptive situations. Make sure you know the difference between socializing a puppy and an adult dog. While puppies can thrive in their formative years, it can be daunting on an adult.
7. No Table Scraps
Fido might be giving you the biggest puppy dog eyes for that piece of food but refrain! Not only does feeding your pup table scraps promote continued begging — and who wants that? — but you also run the risk of having your dog ingest something that they shouldn’t. If you really want to treat you pup, prepare something that is specifically for a dog or stick to good old steamed rice and chicken with some vegetables.
Because most don’t need to groom their dogs every day, let’s look at some of the things you can do throughout the week to keep your pup looking their best. Long haired dogs need a little more attention in the brushing and grooming department, so setting up a routine, whether that is a regular haircut or a brushing and combing a few times a week, will keep knots and mats away. Shorter haired dogs need brushing too, especially during peak shedding season. Don’t forget about teeth brushing! Oral hygiene in important too. Dog breath can be a real turn off.
9. A Good Pet
Yep, this is a no brainer, but the benefits of petting your dog can include reducing stress levels and checking to see if there is any abnormal or new lumps, bumps, ticks, or sore spots to have your vet check out.
10. Create A Disaster Kit For Your Pet
We all probably have some sort of disaster plan ready in case the worst happens — But does your pet? The Humane Society has laid out a pretty detailed How To, but here are a few highlights to get your started.
Make sure your dog has identification both on their collar and is micro-chipped with the appropriate info (cell-phone number is key). When you create a kit, you will have food and water, but don’t forget to have current photos of you with your pet in case you are separated and written info of any medical conditions. Phone numbers, behavior issues, and the name and number of your vet are also essential. These are just a few things to make sure to add into your already prepared disaster kit.