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Caring for a Healthy and Happy Dog
photo credit: Beverly & Pack via photopin cc

Dog ownership is far more involved than caring for a cat. Like for feline friends, signing on for a pup requires  commitment to ensure good physical health by keeping up to date on vaccines, flea and tick prevention, as well as any medications that may be needed. Yet many canines are high energy creatures that need much more than just the basics to be happy, well-behaved companions. When cared for properly there can be no better friend than one’s dog—in addition to love and loyalty, the best of them can be a constant source of joy and amusement.

Dogs need the following:

Good quality food is too often overlooked because of budgetary constraints. However, a poor diet could spell trouble for the pup later down the road. Whenever possible get the highest quality dry dog food that can be afforded. Not sure what to choose? Look online for ratings and reviews or choose a smartphone app that can help facilitate the best choice for the money. Know too that dogs are just as susceptible to food intolerances as humans so if your pup has a runny nose or itchy skin see if diet is a culprit. Remember to clean pup’s water bowl regularly, as well.

Exercise is incredibly important for younger dogs, particularly ones that may misbehave out of boredom. Old dogs also need fresh air and daily exercise, though check with the veterinarian about what is appropriate for elderly canines. Fetch and chase are are great ways for dogs and their people to get the heart racing. Some dogs also love swimming, though make sure the weather’s warm enough for such a thing. Those with a fenced in back yard can let pups play if they aren’t known to be escape artists but it does not negate the need for attention from their person. And never leave the dog indoors too long without a potty break. If you can’t come home in a timely manner then hire a dog walker or ask a neighbor for assistance.

Toys like sturdy ropes and items for chewing are great ways to help entertain a dog and also redirect a desire to chew to something other than shoes. Tennis balls are also great inexpensive toys. Flying discs are also popular, though it is recommended to purchase softer discs that are made specifically for dogs. For dogs with powerful jaws, the higher quality more durable designs are well-worth the money. And the Nylabone brand, though not cheap, is a purchase few would ever regret. Just make sure not to ever give dogs cooked bones as a treat because they could choke. Never leave a dog unattended around a swimming pool, either, as that mistake could too easily become a tragedy.

Other Responsibilities

Dogs also need a safe environment they can view as their own. That could mean a crate or dog bed but preferably both. Some pups are afraid of storms, fireworks, noises on television and some aren’t worried by much at all. However, all dogs need a space to call their own. And always make sure that all gates and doors leading out of the home are closed because one pup with a keen sense of smell could conceivably chase a critter out into the road and an oncoming car.

Socialization is also very important for the happiness of both dog and owner. Make sure that dogs get the chance to be around people in a variety of situations if they are not aggressive to people or other dogs. Also consider taking them to off-leash dog parks to provide ample exercise and social time.

Dogs are incredibly wonderful companions. They have a gift of intuition that can lighten the darkest of moods and provide fine friendship when other people will only say the wrong things, no matter how well-intended. If treated well, dogs truly will be the best possible friend, but consider carefully before adopting whether the care they require can be managed on a regular basis. They have no choice in the matter, the humans do.

Caring for a Healthy and Happy Dog
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