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Ingredients for a "Happy Hound"

Guest Post by Jessica Brody

Noemi-macavei-katocz-c7bUIRBqapA-unsplashAs a doggy parent, taking care of your four-legged companion comes naturally. Your dog loves your company and that seems to be all a dog needs. But the basics of dog care are important and will provide a good foundation. As much as your dog needs love, they also need nutrition and playtime. So here are some tips to make sure your four-legged friend is not only happy, but healthy as well!

Good fences make safe dogs

Your dog might prefer to have free rein over the neighborhood but as hard as this might be to believe, not everyone loves your dog as much as you do. So to protect them from all kinds of threats that range from traffic to other dogs to less-than-enthusiastic neighbors, consider installing a fence around your yard.

Craftsmanship, height and style choice are the keys to results that are both secure and aesthetically appealing. If you’re handy you can install it yourself, but if not, searching websites like Angi.com will lead you to reputable fencing companies near your location.

Navigating the claims of dog food makers

There are many kinds of dog food that vary greatly in quality and price. The trend toward holistic dog food is a move in the direction of healthier ingredients. According to veterinary doctor Natalie Stilwell, however, there are no industry standards when it comes to labeling a dog food “holistic,” while terms like “organic” or “natural” are more defined. So it’s best to do a little research before being won over by the claims made by the manufacturer.

Humans and dogs are really different when it comes to digestion. So while it’s tempting, it’s best to keep table scraps to a minimum, or to at least know what’s not good for your dog, since some foods can actually pose a health risk, according to Animal Planet. For instance, common food items such as milk, chocolate, garlic, avocadoes, grapes, and raisins should all be avoided.

If you want to reward your dog, look for treats made specifically for them, such as doggy ice cream, cookies, and flavored treats. Make sure the dog food you serve is up to par too, containing plenty of protein, veggies, fruits, grains, and a clearly labeled “best by” date. Keep in mind that dogs need different food for various stages of life, so check in with your vet to ensure your dog is getting the right kind of food to promote healthy growth and development.

Walks, yes, but also playtime

You already know that your dog needs daily exercise, but a walk around the neighborhood is only half of it. Your pooch needs playtime to burn off energy, satisfy their natural need to explore, and provide physical and mental stimulation. By offering opportunities for play, you not only prevent bad behaviors such as chewing or barking, but also teach your dog important lessons with boundaries.

When you take your dog to the dog park, you don’t want to be shunned because your dog doesn’t know how to play nice. By playing with your dog, you can build up obedience while also addressing bad behavior, both of which carry over into other areas. As long as your pooch is having fun, nearly any form of play can be beneficial. Check out a new hiking trail, or try new activities such as flyball or agility courses, and keep that brain sharp with puzzle toys and new tricks. You can even get your dog speech buttons to help them better communicate.

Add doggy daycare to the mix

Unfortunately, not everyone can take their dog to work. Consider a dog walker or doggy daycare for the long blocks of time when you have to be away. At doggy daycare your dog will get to play and socialize. They may be so tired they’ll fall asleep on the ride home. They’ll look forward to going and you'll feel good knowing they aren’t bored at home all day.

Once they’re used to going, doggy daycare can cure separation anxiety. It establishes a routine and provides physical exercise. It can help ease your play and walk responsibilities for when you’ve had an exhausting day, and you still get to be together to relax at the end of the day.

Your dog is probably going to love you no matter what. But feeding your dog right and providing exercise and mental stimulation can keep your dog healthy and happy.

Jessica Brody created http://ourbestfriends.pet/ so others could find a place to share stories and photos of their beloved animal companions.

Photo by Noémi Macavei-Katócz on Unsplash

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