How Do I Become A Better Dog Owner?
We all love our dogs, however, there are always little adjustments that we can add to the way that we care for them. Just a small tweak can bring on fantastic results and you will see huge benefits to your dog’s health. To be the best and most responsible dog owner is really, really easy.
Do you want to know how?
It doesn’t matter if you are a first-time dog owner or you have taken care of dogs all your life, there is always something that you can do to make him happier and healthier.
These tips are designed to give maximum benefits by making small adjustments. I’m sure that you do some of them already, but there really is something for everyone.
This handy checklist is a guide to improve your dog’s life, step by step.
After all, our dogs are our best friends, so they deserve to have, the very best owner.
How is your dog’s diet?
To get the best from your dog it is important to give a healthy balanced diet. However, by adding a little ingredient, your dog will be in tip-top condition.
My Number One Diet Tip For Dogs.
The best tip I ever discovered was to give your dog green beans instead of treats.
They can be raw, cooked or even frozen. My dogs love them and it has really helped me to cut down on the number of treats they have.
Just in case you were wondering:
There are forty calories in a medium-sized dog biscuit eg a gravy bone.
So doing a quick swap will have an immediate impact on your dog’s waistline.
Here is another way to help if your dog needs to lose weight.
Substitute some of the dog’s regular food with a couple of teaspoons of pureed pumpkin. It is low in calories and in addition, the fibre and water will make the dog feel full, so he won’t even know he’s on a diet!
Add coconut oil to the food.
There are so many benefits to adding just a half teaspoon of coconut oil to your dog’s food both internally and externally. For best results add very slowly and you will soon see fantastic results.
Add some fish oil to their diet by occasionally adding sardines (my dogs favourite) tuna or salmon.
Be the best dog owner ever and make healthy, tasty treats for your dog. Using just a few ingredients, great snacks can be made instead of shop-bought treats. There are hundreds of recipes online and they are all super quick and inexpensive. Your dog will love you for it!
My dogs love frozen dog treats in the summer to keep cool. I put some yoghurt in ice cube trays and add a blueberry before placing in the freezer. They are great if you are concerned about your dog overheating.
Keeping your dog’s weight under control is so important.
2. Does your dog get enough exercise?
1 Next time you go for a walk, take a ball with you, the dog will cover more ground chasing after it. Additionally, you can get some recall training done at the same time.
2 Another easy thing to do is to change the route that you use every day to walk your dog. Your dog will pick up different scents and get more sensory stimulation from a different area.
3 Walk with a friend who has a dog, this will make your dog more sociable and you will cover more miles having a good old gossip!
3. Is your dog Insured?
Take out a policy or open a savings account for your dog’s care and add to it each week. It will give you the peace of mind to know that the help will be there if your dog needs it. All responsible dog owners have a plan in place if their dog is sick.
4. Is your dog mentally stimulated?
Make your dog work for his food or treats by adding a food puzzle.
We are all aware that dogs can be destructive if they get bored. Their brains need lots of stimulation even when they are past the puppy stage. Just one or two interactive toys will really help to keep your dog’s mind active. As a result, the dog will be calmer and less anxious.
He will no longer need to chew your furniture!
This Bob-a-lot interactive dog toy has kept my miniature dachshund amused for hours. I bought this two years ago and it is still in good working order.
Click here to watch a video from Amazon which demonstrates how to put treats in different sections of the toy. There are also adjustable openings so that you can choose a difficulty level. When your dog gets the hang of how to release the treats, simply make the openings a little smaller.
They also come in different sizes, the small one is perfect for my mini dachshund.
Are you paying a fortune for tennis balls that get lost or destroyed in a few minutes?.
We purchased the Chuckit Dog Ball three years ago and it is still going strong. I love the bright colour which stands out in grass and the ridges make the ball easy for the dog to grasp in their mouth. These are brilliant for dogs who have boundless energy.
Dogs learn when they are having fun, so this is a great way to teach some training commands AND burn off some energy.
5. Keep microchip and dog tags up to date.
Every responsible dog owner has his dog chipped. In fact, in the UK, it is illegal not to.
However, dog owners forget to change the details on the chip when they move house or change telephone number. They buy their dog a lovely new collar and forget to swap the ID disc.
Keep the details up to date and attach a tag to all of your dog’s collars so that you can be contacted as soon as your dog is found.
1 Brushing or combing will not only improve the dog’s appearance, but it will also give you the chance to get a close look to see if he has any skin irritations, fur loss, hot spots, sore paws, etc
2 Keep your dog’s nails short with specially designed dog clippers. If you struggle with this (like I do!) a vet or groomer will do them for a small charge. My dog causes an awful fuss when I take him to have his nails trimmed but the professionals are used to nervous dogs and can do them very quickly.
Walking your dog on hard surfaces is the best way to keep his nails filed down.
You don’t have to be an expert to massage your dog. Just gently stroking and running your hands over the dog’s muscles will make both of you feel bonded and relaxed. It also gives you a good chance to spot any lumps or bumps which may appear.
See how your dog relaxes if you gently massage just behind his ears?
Be the best dog owner and buy good quality, durable dog toys that cannot be destroyed or chewed up.
Cheap dog toys break and could cause a blockage in the intestine.
Sometimes a small plush toy will give comfort to your dog. My dog likes to carry a small toy around, she even takes it to bed with her.
A simple ball will give hours of fun. Teach the dog to retrieve, so that you don’t have to do all the legwork!
Make Inexpensive Homemade Toys
If your dog suffers from separation anxiety, get an unwashed T-shirt or old sock belonging to yourself and put knots in it until it resembles a ball. The dog will get comfort from the smell when you are not there.
A really cheap idea to stimulate play is to get an odd sock and stuff it with material that gives a crinkle effect (eg a crisp packet or biscuit wrapper) then tie a knot and use as a fetch toy.
Place three plastic cups in a line upside down. Place a treat inside one cup and see if your dog can guess which one it is. Slide the cups around to make the game more difficult.
(There is a short video so that you can see how the toy works)
The reason I like the Wobble Wag Giggle Ball is because there are special clutch holes which allow the dog to get a good grasp of the ball. Dogs are entertained by the ‘giggling’ sounds and benefit from lots more exercise when they run to fetch the ball. Use both indoors and outdoors, great for those wintry days when you are stuck inside.
Check your dog’s teeth and gums regularly and brush with some special doggy toothpaste every day. The best way for a dog owner to do this is to start when the dog is a puppy.
If you can’t brush your dog’s teeth?
Don’t worry, there are always things that you can do. My rescue dog would never allow me to put something in his mouth so I found the best possible alternative.
Make sure that your dog’s teeth are in the best condition by giving him a daily dental chew. Mine love fish skin cubes. The smell of fish is very strong so I keep mine in an airtight container.
They are 100% natural so no nasty additives.
Greenies make an excellent range of doggy dental chews which are all natural and veterinary approved. Make sure that you choose the right size for your dog.
I always sprinkle a tiny amount of Plaque Off on my dog’s food. I have found that not only does it remove plaque but it IMPROVES BREATH which has been so helpful. I don’t want to put my elderly dog through a dental operation and this keeps her breath smelling fresh.
Plaque Off is very economical because a little goes a long way, so a small pot lasts for ages.
Coconut oil will also help with dental hygiene. In addition, it is natural and helps give a beautiful shiny coat too.
Give your dog a small piece of carrot or apple to munch on. This will remove plaque, clean teeth and improve smelly breath.
To be the best dog owner you need to always observe your dog. Just like a child, we need to keep a watchful eye on our pets.
Look for anything out of the ordinary.
Trust your instincts and you will find:
That you are always right!
Check that the dog is eating, drinking, urinating, emptying bowels and playing as normal.
Detecting early signs that your dog is unwell can prevent serious illness and costly vet bills.
Be the Best Dog Owner By Keeping A
Natural Dog Medicine Cabinet
Sometimes we don’t need to look further than our kitchen cupboards to find natural remedies for everyday dog ailments. These items are readily available in shops and can be purchased at very little expense.
(Of course, if the dog is unwell or in pain he must be seen by a vet immediately.)
1 Keep some tinned pumpkin in the cupboard to help with your dog’s digestion.
2 Epsom Salts in a warm bath help muscle aches and sprains.
3 Vitamin E cream helps with dry, sore, or swollen paws.
4 Diluted Apple Cider Vinegar can be used to clean ears.
5 Chamomile Tea poured over the dog’s skin can reduce itchiness.
6 Warmed salt can be placed in a sock and placed on an arthritic joint to relieve pain.
7 Live yoghurt will soothe a dog’s upset tummy.
8 Pumpkin seeds are a natural wormer.
9 Coconut Oil can help the fur to grow back if the dog has bald patches.
10 Pour warm water through a sachet of oatmeal, then rinse the dog’s coat to relieve itching.
By following these quick and easy tips you can be the best dog owner and your dog will benefit by being more happy and healthy. It only takes a few easy tweaks and the results can be seen very quickly.
Do you have any tips to keep your dog physically fit and well?
I would love to hear all about them.
Keep those tails wagging!
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