Most families are only complete when they have adopted a dog, a furry bundle of joy that loves them dearly. Dogs are one of the preferred pets because they are extremely friendly, easy-going and loyal. That doesn’t mean that your responsibilities as a dog owner are easy. It takes a lot of practice and habits to keep the physical and mental health of your dog at the highest possible standards. But dogs are like people: Unloved and uncared for, they fade. While most families who adopt a dog for the first time swear to love their furry friend, there is a big difference between what you might think of as caring for your dog and what your dog truly needs. Here are the key tasks of responsible dog owners and how to keep your dog healthy for longer.
You would have noticed already: Your dog doesn’t need the same food than you. While each breed has different requirements in terms of calories, nutrients, and vitamins – for example, the best food for your bulldog will be very different from the food for your neighbor’s German shepherd –, they also don’t follow a human diet. As a rule of the thumb, dry food is better for dogs, and you can think of wet food as the equivalent of your fatty take-away. So keep these as a treat only! If you are looking for healthier treats, you can give your dog some human foods that are renowned for improving canine health. Carrots are a great favorite as most dogs would gnaw them the same way that they would a bone, so the crunching is keeping their teeth healthy. Additionally, the natural fibers in the carrots are ideal for your dog. Blueberries are another great one for dogs as they will deliver the same advantages that people have seen with their favorite berries: Lowering the blood sugar level, and repairing the damaged cells. So pack a few frozen blueberries as a tasty treat!
Developing a trusting relationship with your dog is not a difficult task per se, but it takes some effort and dedication. Start with regular petting and examinations when they are young puppies to make sure that your dog is used to be handled and trusts you with it. Some dogs even develop a love of massages which is something that can help an old dog to relax from arthritis and other pains. You can also get your dog used to be groomed by you, which is a great way of developing the bond between you and keeping ahead of any health issues.
Last, but not least, your dog needs mental games to stay healthy. There is more to health than just the body, and mental stimulation is essential for dogs like it is for people. So it’s important to get your dog a few toys – if you can, choose interactive toys that have features designed to keep the dog’s attention for longer – and to regularly play together. Even if you only have a handful of minutes for your dog, you should organize a daily game together, such as calling your dog and rewarding him or her with a treat each time the dog comes to the person who calls their name. This develops your dog’s understanding of their name and a positive behavior. These games also reinforce your dog’s mental focus, which is essential for a happy pet ownership relation.