With everybody spending far more time inside this year, it’s been making more sense for a lot of people to finally get a four-legged creature for companionship. Dogs aren’t just for holidays, however, and can take a lot of work to raise properly. While they are a great source of happiness for humans, proven to increase feelings such as empathy and joy, it’s important that this isn’t a one-sided relationship and that the dog is just as happy as you are.
To raise a happy and healthy dog, we have compiled a list of ways to keep your dog merry. Here are four key takeaways.
Dogs love to eat. They are constantly begging for food, hovering around the dinner table on the off chance that any scraps fall their way. A high-quality diet is essential for preventing diseases and ensuring a long life. Make sure that the food you feed your dog is filled with essential ingredients such as:
The food you feed the dog doesn’t have to be made specifically for canines either. In fact, adding human food to your dog’s diet has many benefits. Serve up lean meat like pork and beef, as well as green vegetables, fruit, and bananas, and mix it in with their dog food!
Second to eating, a dog’s favorite pastime is going on a long walk, wagging its tail as it picks up various sticks to take all the way home. We would recommend setting aside a fixed part of every day to walk the dog, so it knows exactly which time it is ready to walk.
The consensus is that you should walk your dog at least 3-4 times a day for 15 minutes at a time, but this can vary on the size: a husky, for example, is going to need far more exercise than a chihuahua, so plan accordingly!
Think of a dog as a trial run for an actual child. If you want it to have a happy and well-rounded life, then it’s essential to constantly play with it. Games can include:
- Hide and Seek
- Tug of War
What’s great about these games is that they not only make your dog happy, but they have proven to improve mental health in humans too. When dogs are well-looked after, everyone wins!
Buy Lots of Toys
Dogs, and especially puppies, are always chewing things. Keep them happy masticators and avoid wires and socks being destroyed by buying them a lot of toys. These can range from boned-shaped chew toys made of rubber — basically indestructible — to plushie toys that can look like other animals and dogs, to a good-old fashioned tennis ball. The type of toy will depend on which type of dog you want to raise. If the dog is simply for fun and familial companionship, you may want to spoil it a bit, but if you’re looking to properly train your dog, then it’s worth investing in toys designed especially for that purpose.