How to make your dog’s life better
There are so many ways your dog’s health and wellbeing can be improved, here are just a few ideas…
- Know their body – Examining your dog’s body, coat colour, walking speed, teeth & gums, along with their normal temperature and breathing rate is so important to help you identify any health changes as soon as possible. You should know the exterior of your dog’s body as well as your own! Your dog cannot always tell you when they are in pain or discomfort so being aware of any physical changes could be key to an early diagnosis.
- Know their breed –The activities that will mentally stimulate your dog will be influenced by their breed. Take the time to research what your dog’s breed was originally developed for and then incorporate regular games or activites which help with those “inherent drives” – tuggy games for Bull breeds, chasing games for Herding breeds, scent work for Hound breeds. Under-stimulated dogs are more likely to develop issues including destructive behaviour or anxiety.
- Know their diet –Take a look at the nutritional content of your dog’s daily food intake. Some commercially available treats and chews can have a high levels of artificial ingredients. There are a lot of natural treats and chews available which provide similar enjoyment levels. Fruit and vegetables such as carrots, green beans, spinach and blueberries can add a lot of vitamins and minerals to a dog’s diet. Your dog is an omnivore and therefore needs fruit and vegetables in their diet.
- Know what they enjoy – Dogs are all individuals. Just like us, they have indiviual preferences as to what they like to do and how they like to do it. Some dogs like to cuddle, others don’t. Some like to lie in the sunshine, others prefer the shade, some like to swim, others like to paddle. Ensure your dog has time and opportunities for “me time” on a daily basis. You can add extra enjoyment by incorporating their favourite activities on holidays/walks etc.
- Know their nose – It’s not currently possible for humans to truly understand how impressive a dog’s nose really is. Watch how often your dog chooses to investigate “fresh air”. Allowing them to sniff on walks, find “hidden items” or exercise in new places are all fantastic ways to get that nose working. Spaniels & Scent Hounds will especially relish being able to exercise off-lead – those long ears push the scent molecules into their nose as they move!
- Variety is the spice of life! –Your dog’s daily routine should incorporate a lot of different activities to meet their physical and mental needs. Periods of rest are equally as important to puppies are they are to older dogs. Carefully introduced “alone time” helps to lower the likelihood of anxiety occurring should future work patterns change for owners. Exercise and play times should be tailored depending on breed and weather conditions.
PLEASE NOTE: Dogs taking medication or with any ailment or illness should seek the advice of a Vet before making changes relating to their dog’s diet and/or exercise.
Louise Burton IMDT
Hilton Dogs Training Academy
Vet recommended puppy and dog training services
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