It’s important your dog gets regular daily exercise. Keep reading for happy dog: 10 key ways to keep your dog happy and healthy.
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In the US, 60.2 million households own at least one dog. This figure overshadows cat ownership by far, which stands at 47.1 million households.
Obviously, as a nation, we love our canine friends. They’re loyal, loving, and trusting, and they count on us to look after their well-being. It’s essential you do your best for your pet to show your appreciation for their companionship.
If you want to have a happy dog, then keep reading. We’ll give you 10 key ways to keep your pooch happy and healthy!
1. Take Them for Regular Vet Visits
Like with humans, dogs need regular “doctor’s” visits to ensure they’re in the best health possible. This is especially important since they can’t verbally communicate with you about anything that’s bothering them.
By having routine vet visits, you can catch any issues while they’re small. That way, your dog won’t suffer as much, plus your bill won’t be as hefty either.
When you first get your dog, they need an initial checkup. This includes a thorough exam for a clean bill of health and vaccinations.
After that initial visit, you’ll need to schedule annual exams, just like you would with yourself. Make sure you gather a list of questions to ask so you can better understand how your pooch’s health works.
2. Start Training Early
The majority of dogs need some kind of direction in life. So while you may be tempted to spoil your pooch and let it do whatever it wants, you’re actually setting up your furry friend for failure.
As soon as you get your dog, you need to instill some structure in your daily life. House train your pup immediately; that way, it’ll know where it can and can’t go to the bathroom. Your dog will also understand early on that it can’t chew on furniture, blinds, and other items in your home.
By establishing these rules as soon as possible, your pet will be more disciplined. If you let them run rampant in the house and then try to house train them years later, it may confuse them.
3. Teach Your Dog Tricks
No, teaching your dog tricks isn’t just for your own amusement. Like we said, canines crave order and love to obey orders. So teaching your pooch some tricks can be very mentally stimulating for them.
They’ve diverged from their wolf ancestors in terms of cooperation vs. submission. So while wolves work together in cooperation, dogs submit instead. This means they love taking orders from you!
Studies suggest that dogs won’t perform certain actions unless they’re told to, so by teaching your pet tricks, you can help them with some mental stimulation. Also, when you reward them for performing tricks, this makes them feel satisfied and loved.
4. Make Sure to Socialize Your Dog
This is yet another point where canines are similar to humans; they need social interaction or they’ll be unhappy and unfulfilled. If they have limited social interactions, they might also have a harder time reading cues.
For socialization, you need to have your pooch interact with both other dogs and humans as well. When they get to play with other canines, they’ll feel extremely fulfilled since they get to play with their own kind. Proper socialization can help curb territorial issues as well.
Regular interaction with humans can teach your dog how to behave. For example, if it gets to play with children often, it’ll understand how to be gentle and not to bite or nip. It’ll also get them accustomed to random human behaviors so they won’t get as shocked or scared when outside.
5. Correct Behavioral Problems in a Positive Way
When your dog does something wrong, like poop indoors, your first instinct might be to punish them for doing so. If they get a bop on the nose and some stern words, they’ll know not to do it again, right?
However, positive reinforcement is miles better than punishment (fun fact: this rings true for child-rearing too!).
When your dog has pleasant memories and feelings from you training them, it helps them bond with you better. The behavioral changes are also more permanent since the desire for reward is stronger than the desire to avoid punishment.
Positive reinforcement also has a lower chance of consequences should you make a mistake. If you feel your dog a treat at the wrong time for positive reinforcement, the worst that can happen is it gets an extra treat. And the best thing is they’ll associate you with awesome feelings.
But if you punish your pooch at the wrong time, this can have some unpleasant consequences. Your furry friend will start associating you with bad memories, and they’ll also be confused as to why they’re receiving punishment when they haven’t done anything wrong.
6. Go for Regular Exercise
Are you guilty of being a couch potato? Then you may have inadvertently made your dog one too.
Not only is this bad for your health (both yours and your dog’s), but it may cause Fido to act out. Depending on the breed of your pet, they may have high levels of energy, and if they don’t have a way to take it out through exercise, they’ll do it by causing havoc in your home.
So make sure you take your beloved pet out for regular exercise and walks. Both of you will get some fresh air and some vitamin D, plus you’ll get a chance to toss some balls and frisbees around for some light and fun play!
7. Switch Things Up
You may have a routine you like sticking to, but as with all routines, things can get stale and boring. Dogs are smart creatures that need lots of stimulation, so if you always take them on the same walks every day, they may get bored with it.
Consider switching things up every once in a while. Get your pooch some new toys every few months, and take them on new paths when you’re out on walks. They’ll get to explore fresh stimuli and meet new people and dogs.
If you get a chance, and if your furry friend is healthy enough, do some traveling with them. For example, if the beach is a 15-minute drive away, bring your pet with you next time! They’ll enjoy running around on the sand and taking a dip with you.
8. Feed Them a Good Diet
You want to spoil your dog rotten, so you feed them treats all the time. But canines can be prone to being overweight, which can cause health and joint problems.
We’re not saying ditch the treats completely, but you’ll want to make sure their diet is completely balanced. Have a chat with your vet about what foods you should feed them and how much.
No matter how much Fido whines for extra food or treats, you need to hold your ground. While it may break your heart to see those sad puppy dog eyes, you need to remind yourself that you’re looking out for the bigger picture—their health.
9. Give Senior Dogs Supplements
As dogs get older, they become less spry; many dog breeds are prone to joint disorders, which may cause them pain and discomfort as they reach their senior years.
Not only will it pain you to see your dog suffering, but it may also result in them being less active, which can bring on other health problems. For instance, it may become overweight and develop diabetes.
A great way to help your furry friend is to give them some supplements, such as mobility chews for dogs. These supplements contain beneficial ingredients, such as hemp extracts, vitamins, glucosamine, and chondroitin.
When combined together, not only do all these ingredients alleviate pain, but they also help with better mobility and flexibility. By giving your senior pooch these supplements, they’ll feel rejuvenated and will want to go on walks with you more. This can help keep them healthy and active.
10. Shower Your Dog With Love
This may go without saying, but we feel it’s important enough to reiterate. Dogs love to bond with humans through physical touch, so make sure you allow for that.
When you’re sitting and doing work, don’t get annoyed if your pooch wants to come sit on your lap. Instead of pushing them off, give them a big hug and kiss. They can be a huge distraction when working, but their happiness is worth it.
Have a Happy Dog for Years to Come
Now you have quite a few helpful tips under your belt so you can have a happy dog. Considering Fido’s probably your best friend, not only will these tips make him happier and healthier, but it’ll have the same effect on you too!
So give your dog the best in life and reap the rewards of a companion that’ll love you for it.
Please take a look at our other blog articles for more interesting reads.