No strings attached!
We can learn an awful lot from our dogs, they are pure, loving, loyal, and faithful, all lessons that we can put to practice in our own lives. And yet they ask for very little in return for their love and loyalty – food, exercise, and some attention in between play and nap time, and that’s pretty much it!
Not a lot to ask really, so if you are contemplating welcoming a new dog into your home or want to pay your dog back for their love and loyalty, you might want to consider our five things you can do to ensure they have a happier, healthier, and longer life.
“There is nothing more important to your dog than your happiness—this selfless love is one of the reasons you adore your pup so much! Because of this, they can be very sensitive to your emotions” Readers Digest
5 Things your dog needs in order to thrive
1 FEEDING – make sure their food is top dog!
The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ rings true for dogs too! Manufactured dog food is designed to provide your pet with all the necessary nutrients to keep them healthy. Measured daily portions of dog food will ensure your pooch doesn’t gain too much weight and treats that are also designed for dogs are the best bet.
There are many different brands of dog food in the marketplace and it’s important to do your research because some foods may suit your dog breed better than others.
You can also make your own dog food as long as you make sure they are getting a balanced healthy diet.
All about dog food, is a good online resource. They offer a directory with AADF ratings which are awarded based on the quality and quantity of every single ingredient, the bio-appropriateness, quality, and bio-availability of nutrients as well as the balance and classes of ingredients.
In a recent Telegraph article The best dog food: How to choose the right food for your pet they rate the following as the top 5 dog foods:
- Best dry dog food – Burns
- Best wet dog food – Harringtons
- Best puppy food – Royal Canin
- Best senior dog food – Tails.com
- Best dog food for allergies – Yora
2. EXERCISE – time for walkies?
Regular exercise is essential for all dogs not only will it keep them in good shape it is also important for their mental health.
If your dog is fit and active, it is less likely to suffer from problems with arthritis, obesity, and behavioral issues.
How much exercise is enough?
According to the PDSA, The recommended amount of daily exercise for most dogs is 30 minutes to 2 hours, although certain dogs need more.
Some breeds were developed for more active lifestyles than others, check out the PDSA chart below for more information.
3. PLAYING – keep it fun!
Most dogs are very athletic, energetic, and love to play, so sure you incorporate some playtime into your daily routine.
There are several simple playtime activities you can do at home. Agility exercises can include climbing, tunnels, jumping, and weave poles. Hide and seek with dog treats or something smelly like liver or Bovril can be an exciting game.
And for the breeds that need more exercise, you could take them running with you or opt for official agility or gun dog training.
Jackie Drakeford’s (Dog trainer & Behaviourist) recommends researching the work your dog’s breed was originally bred to do for an idea of what your dog might find fulfilling.
4. LOVE AND AFFECTION – 🐶
Just like us, dogs need physical touch and bonding to be happy and some will like more contact than others, so it’s important to look out for signs that your pet is as happy with your kisses and embraces as you are!
A good ear rub or chest rub will always go down well with our four-legged friends, and because they are pack animals, they like snuggling up to us.
The American Kennel Club advise against hugging, they say “It’s completely natural for humans to hug somebody to express affection. Just as natural as dogs sniffing rear ends to say hello. Of course, people don’t share dogs’ love of sniffing behinds or human crotches. And to the same degree, dogs don’t share our love of hugs.”
If in doubt, the article Why Do Some Dogs Like to Cuddle—and Others Don’t? by Daily Paws, sheds more light on the different ways we can cuddle our dogs without causing them any distress.
5. ROUTINE – keep it steady.
Dogs are creatures of habit, and the way they feel about the world around them depends on how happy they are in their environment.
Believe it or not, a change of routine is rated as The Reader’s Digest 3rd out of 23 things you do that your dog hates
Try to stick to the same daily routine in order to give your dog structure and confidence. That means, when you are at home, try to stick to the same routine for dog walks, playtime, and nap times.
More advice and tips can be found here.