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How to Keep Your Dog Healthy and Happy

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Dogs come into our lives and give us happiness, love, joy and many opportunists to get some cute photos too! Our pooches offer us all of this but ask for nothing in return, but as any good dog owner will agree, it’s a pleasure to offer your doggy something for their undevoted compassion.

Obviously, one of the most simplistic ways to do this is to make them happy and keep them healthy, so, we’ve included several of the best ways that you can do just that in order to achieve this.

Happy and healthy is hydrated

Just like us humans, dogs need to be kept adequately hydrated. They need to drink enough water each day, so you need to have a bowl of water somewhere that your dog can regularly, of their own accord, go get a drink if they wish, and don’t forget to change the water on a daily basis too.

You can do a quick check to see if your four-legged friend is staying nicely hydrated by doing a quick check on your pooch’s skin and gums. You just have to place your hand over their ribs and then give them a gentle press.

Then, you should move your hand back and forth slightly; almost like a mini stroking motion. You ideally want to feel the skin being loose and able to move easily with your hand. If not, then you should keep an eye on their drinking habits as there could be an issue with their health, meaning you’ll need to see the vet.

Keeping your doggy hydrated will give them the kind of normal functioning body and brain that they’ll need to stay happy and healthy, PetMD explains.

Use high-quality pet food

There’s a great onus on dog owners to feed their pets with the right type of food. You can’t just go throwing them the scraps from your plate at meal times as this just isn’t a healthy way to feed your dog, even if you’re feeding them their own food too.

It’s often seen that dogs are overweight due to loving owners ‘treating’ their dog. But, ultimately, this is only going to do them harm in the long-run if the habit is not kept on a tight leash.

Going back to your pet’s main diet; if you keep them fed with the right pet food for them, it doesn’t just avoid hunger, it goes further. For example, it will affect their weight, how their teeth wear, the lustre of their eyes and their coat, plus much more.

As such, it’s vital to feed your dog with a regular nutritious and well-balanced food that is able to be digested easily.

Typically, raw food diets are known for their really nutritious benefits as well as suiting most breeds. However, if you do decide to opt for a commercial pet food, remind yourself to only choose those that are completely forthcoming in regard to their ingredients. You should also skip foods with preservatives as much as possible.

Make exercise a regular thing

Again, just as exercise and being as physically fit as possible is part of a healthy lifestyle for you, the same goes for your dog. Walking is one great way to keep both pet and owner fit and healthy. If you want and your dog is up for it too, then running is also an option.

Getting them out and about is the only time that they leave the house, so make sure they can enjoy it as best as possible. You can base how far and how quickly you go with your dog depending on their age, breed and the level of fitness they have which will usually increase the more exercise they get.

If you have a young pup or an older dog, then they might be able to walk relatively well for a short period, but will become tired far more quickly, so just bear this in mind as you might well need to pick your dog up and carry them when they can’t stroll with you anymore.

The main benefit of regularly exercising your dog is the prevention of obesity, while also keeping your pet’s muscles in fine shape and will slow the progression of issues surrounding the joints.

You won’t find it too tricky to notice if your furry friend is receiving the correct level of physical activity and you can do this by checking out how they behave after walkies.

Too much exercise will be displayed by actions such as your dog lying down and/or sleeping for the majority of the day. Dashing over to grab their favourite toy and bringing it to you to play with indicates that you need to use up a small amount of energy they have left over, but that’s okay. Lastly, if your dog wants to rest and take a short nap, this is when you’ve hit the sweet spot for the right amount of exercise, so perhaps take note for future reference.

Exercise lifts the moods of humans and the same goes for dogs too. This is a chance to increase not just physical health, but mental and social benefits too. You can spot an under-exercised dog as they normally have all that pent-up energy and will be bored; this can cause them to express this with the following traits:

  • Becoming a nuisance barker
  • Chewing furniture
  • Develop aggressive behaviour

*Alternative exercise tip: If you are exhausted when you come home from work to take your dog for a walk, you can train them to ‘do laps’. If you do this, you can simply sit in your chair and sip your relaxing cup of tea while your pooch releases some of the energy from the day.

This can also be used as a means to keep them occupied while you’re getting ready to take them for a walk. You basically want to train them to either run back and forth in a straight line or in a loop around the house, for example.

Now, this is most definitely not an alternative for exercise and cannot be used on a frequent basis. It’s essential for your pet to get proper walks outdoors, so please only use this tip as a one-off or as a distraction method to keep them busy while before going out for proper exercise.

Don’t just exercise, play too!

Exercise isn’t the only thing you need to maintain with your pet. Because dogs are naturally pack animals, they can handle a range of different circumstances. With correct training and learned social skills, your dog will gladly be in the company of many people or other dogs, while also being able to cope with the times when you are not there and they’re by themselves.

As with most things, if dogs are subjected to too much of either situation it will be hard for them; moderation is key.

As you arrive home each day, you will likely have the feeling of wanting to sit and chill out, but seeing you will ignite a burst of happy emotions for your four-legged friend and they will want to express this to you.

So, when your pet is displaying so much love for their best friend, give them a good ten to fifteen minutes of play time, such as playing fetch, tug, etc. Brief spells of playtime are great for bonding, using up some energy and generally keeping your dog happy (and you too).

If you’re heading out for a small while then try to take your dog whenever that is feasible as anything that involves you will be seen as fun by your pooch.

Just a short period of quick, concentrated one-to-one attention from you do wonders for helping your dog achieve their social needs. When it comes to the remainder of the evening, you may or may not be surprised to know that merely being in your company is enough to make your dog feel happy and content; after all, dogs love companionship.

Get acquainted with your vet

Lastly, one small way to make sure that you are able to keep your dog happy in a series of situations is to regularly take them to the vets. Just like playing, exercising, feeding well and more, ensuring they’re at ease, not apprehensive and of course, not aggressive when paying a visit to the vets is important.

Just like going somewhere we don’t enjoy or take us out of our comfort zone, dogs will behave differently when they aren’t satisfied with the scenario they’re in. Dogs are incredibly intelligent and they remember.

It is really important to take your pooch to the vets on a regular basis, starting as soon as possible in order for them to know that they shouldn’t be scared when they are getting checked out by the vet.

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