7 Things Dogs Need Everyday
Dogs are our amazing companions that wait patiently for us while we are at work, running errands, dropping the kids off at school, attending sporting events and spending the day/evening with friends. For many, we live very busy lives and forget that in addition to the very basics of food, water and shelter, dogs need to be provided with other things to be happy, healthy and well behaved. Regardless of how busy you are, here are 7 things you should be giving your four legged best friend everyday:
1. A Walk: Could you imagine never leaving the house? Sadly, that is the life of many dogs in America. Daily walks are so important for our dogs’ mental and physical health. In addition to helping with weight control, they also provide mental stimulation, improve socialization skills, and reduce loneliness. A simple walk could help reduce behaviors often caused from boredom, such as excessive barking, digging, chewing and jumping. Walks are also a great way to strengthen your bond with your dog.
2. Cardio Workout/Playtime: It is a common misconception that dogs who have a large backyard will exercise themselves or a 20-30 minute leisurely walk once or twice a day is enough exercise for a dog. Although daily walks are important for socialization and mental stimulation, they are usually not enough to tire a dog out, especially a young active dog. Hiking, fetching, jogging, swimming, play dates with other dogs, agility, flyball, and games such as hide and seek are all great forms of exercise that will provide your dog with a cardio workout.
3. Mental Stimulation: We often forget how smart dogs are and like humans, they need to be mentally stimulated to prevent boredom. Daily sniff walks, trick training, nose work (find it games), and interactive and puzzle toys are all great ways to provide your dog with needed mental stimulation.
4. Consistent Rules and Training: Dogs don’t know English and are constantly trying to figure out our human rules. They really want to understand what we want them to do, but without consistent rules, cues, and training techniques among all family members they will be confused.
5. Physical Exam / Grooming: Daily exams can help you monitor your dog’s health and find lumps, sores, fleas, ticks, ear mites and injures before they worsen. Daily exams can also put your dog at ease during vet visits.
6. Quiet Time: The average dog needs 12-14 hours of sleep a day, while puppies need 18-20 hours a day. Older dogs and certain breeds may need even more. Dogs that do not get enough sleep can become grumpy and agitated. It’s important that your dog has a quiet place where they can escape to rest and sleep.
7. Affection: Affection helps build a trusting and lasting bond with your dog. Although, in general, dogs don’t like hugs, most enjoy long soft strokes down the body, butt and chin scratches, and gently massaging.