They’re more than just our best friend. They’re our ride-or-die, cuddle buddy and emotional support system. No, we’re not talking about your significant other (although, there are far worse qualities you could fall for). We just described a relationship between a human and their dog.
Our dogs provide us with unconditional love and acceptance, even on our worst days. That’s why, as pet owners, we don’t think twice about doing everything we can to ensure our pet’s health and happiness. Whether it’s a spa day, upgrading their food, or adding CBD dog oil to their diet, here are ten tips for supporting your dog’s well-being.
1. Exercise Regularly
Dogs are a lot like humans. They like cuddles, playtime and bacon. Despite looking entirely different, we have many of the same organs and muscles as our furry friends. Just like humans, a dog’s body can become weakened due to a lack of exercise.
Unlike our kitty friends, dogs need to follow an exercise schedule. Much like you might get cranky if you don’t get in your morning yoga flow, your pup may suffer from similar distress. They need to work that frustration out with frequent activity.
The more your dog walks and runs, the better their cardiovascular health and muscular strength will become. Even those with the busiest of schedules can squeeze in a 15-minute walk around the block. The more time you can fit in, the better. Those within the vicinity of a dog park or anyone with a big yard could incorporate a few rounds of fetch to really get that heart rate pumping.
Also, try to remain on schedule. Dogs can be very regimented individuals. They have a strong sense of time. Your pup has figured out when to expect you home from work, what time to wake you up to feed them and when it’s time for them to hit the gym — er, dog park.
2. Loosen That Collar
We would do anything in our power to ensure that our dog is as comfortable as possible. So, why do so many of us still wrap a collar around their throat? For decades, many pet owners have insisted that the dog doesn’t feel the tug around their neck, yet tugging the contraption gets them to stop on the spot. Logically speaking, this ideology doesn’t have much merit.
Not only is a dog collar a choking hazard when the owner tugs on the reins, but it can also be one when you’re not around. If an overly active dog tries to jump a gate, a tight collar can get caught. Unfortunately, these instances can lead to a broken neck or death.
The best way to combat these concerns is to purchase a body harness for your dog. Not only will they be more comfortable on their walks, but it also gives them a sense of freedom. A harness is less invasive, allowing your dog’s head and neck full range to sniff everything it sees.
If your dog is in your house the majority of the day, the harness may become more uncomfortable than the collar. You may want to take the harness off while they are inside. If your dog is a flight risk, make sure they are microchipped.
For owners who insist on using a collar, make sure it’s not too tight around your dog’s neck. Also, check for any chafing underneath the collar. A little comfort goes a long way in quality of life for your loved ones.
3. Make Sure There’s Plenty of Mental Stimulation
Dogs don’t have the luxury of browsing their Facebook feed to kill time. Nor do dogs go to work, out to happy hour or shopping at the mall. They spend a lot of time at home, alone. While seeing you come home is the highlight of their day, you’re not enough (sorry to burst your bubble)! We’re not the only ones who want to have fun.
Obviously, exercise is a great way to stimulate your dog mentally. They get very excited to discover new odors and meet strangers who fawn over their cuteness. Up the stimulation levels by switching up your walking routine. They’ll feel like they’re discovering new frontiers every day!
While walking is fundamental, there are many other ways to give your dog mental stimulation. Get a chew toy and fill it with peanut butter. Your dog will spend hours trying to get to that tasty treat inside. Speaking of treats, teach your dog some tricks. We humans have the desire to learn new things, and our four-legged friends are no different. Lastly, get your dog a puzzle, like a flip board. Just hide the treat in compartments and watch as your dog tries to figure out where the goodies are.
4. Be on Top of Dental Care
We brush our teeth twice a day. Yet, a majority of dogs will go through their lives without any dental care. Much like with humans, oral care is a glimpse into the overall health of your pet. They, too, are prone to disease and commonly contract gum infections.
Once an infection happens in the mouth, it can spread. As a result, your dog may begin to lose teeth. Furthermore, these infections can travel to the heart, proving to be fatal for your loved one.
Try to brush your dog’s teeth every day. If that’s not viable, give them dental treats and plenty of bones. These chewable treats scrape tartar off their teeth and plaque off their gums.
5. Feed Them Organic Food
If you are going gluten-free, buying organic and opting for whole foods, then your dog should be getting the same consideration. Just as gluten and dairy are top allergens for human beings, dogs also exhibit these sensitivities. In fact, dogs don’t produce as many digestive enzymes for these foods as their owners do. Therefore, it may be even more difficult for them to digest certain foods than their human counterparts.
Many mainstream food companies use fillers, additives, GMOs and hormone-treated animal feed in their products. Be sure to read the packaging carefully. Opt for foods that use whole grains such as lentils or quinoa, organic vegetables and free-range animals.
A growing trend among dog owners is to make their own dog food at home. While this is an excellent idea for improving your pup’s nutrition, be wary of what you’re putting into the feed. For instance, common human foods like onion, garlic and tree nuts can be toxic for your animals.
6. Wash Bowls Daily
Every day, humans use clean silverware and plates for three square meals, yet we expect our dog’s slobbery tongue to lap up food and water from the same bowls every day. We’re not saying you have to get a whole dining set of dog dishes, but you should wash their bowls daily.
Water is a breeding ground for life, including bacteria. That means the bacteria your dog picked up outside on their tongue travels into the house and into their water bowl.
Bacteria sits in stagnant water. Depending on what type of bacteria is festering, your dog can pick up an oral infection. This is why dental hygiene and providing clean bowls are both essential for your dog’s well-being.
7. Treat Them to a Spa Day
Sure, your dog doesn’t need a French manicure, but your dog’s nails do need some TLC. Overgrown claws are uncomfortable for dogs. They push back into the pads, causing pain and making it difficult to walk. Not to mention they can do a number to your furniture!
Be sure to groom your dog according to their fur type as well. Long-haired dogs are especially prone to matting, which collects dirt and oils. Combing out these clumps can be painful for your dog and easily avoided if you keep up with regular grooming.
Your dog’s hair also covers up what’s going on with their skin. By grooming your dog, you can see abnormalities such as dry patches.
Finally, brushing your dog moves around their natural oils. Just like humans take omega-3 supplements to strengthen their hair, skin and nails, your dog needs healthy oils, too. While they secrete plenty of it, they can use some help moving those oils about. Regularly brushing your dog moves the oils around so more follicles get the benefits. In turn, your dog will have a healthier looking coat.
8. Keep Toxins Out of Reach
Rule of thumb: if you don’t want your kids getting into it, you don’t want your fur kids getting into it either. We take for granted how easily animals may come into contact with toxins in our home. Say they knock over that lemon-scented Pine-Sol. Once it’s on the ground, the enticing citrus smell may cause them to lick it up. Before you know it, you’re on the way to the animal hospital.
Harsh chemicals aren’t the only toxins that should cause concern. As we mentioned, some human food may be toxic to dogs as well. There are also other concerns, including alcohol, prescriptions, marijuana, insecticides and even flowers such as tulips and daffodils. Get to know which foods, plants and products are toxic to your dog and keep these items out of your loved one’s reach.
9. Use CBD Pet Products
There is nothing that breaks your dog’s heart more than when you embark on your day. Work seems to last forever to us — it must feel like ten lifetimes to them. These moments of separation may cause emotional distress for your dog and a lot of damage to your furniture.
Help support your dog’s well-being with CBD dog treats. Like us, dogs also have an endocannabinoid system (ECS). Therefore, CBD pet products may help to maintain your dog’s overall wellness.
10. Regular Vet Trips
No one knows our dogs better than us — except for their veterinarian. We like to think we know our pups better than anyone, but when it comes to the health of our pets, it’s best to consult with the professionals. The vet can not only help you if your dog is sick but may also be able to anticipate problems before they happen in the first place.
By going to the vet regularly, you might discover a minor issue before it becomes a full-fledged problem. Not only will this save your dog unneeded misery, but it can also save your wallet from expensive vet bills down the road.
Not to mention, the vet can help with some of these tips for supporting your dog’s well-being. They can give you great insight on which food is best for your dog and may even offer services such as dental cleaning and spa treatments.
Maybe the reason dogs are called “man’s best friend” is that they are so much like us. We eat some of the same foods, enjoy the same activities and even have similar personalities. Make sure to schedule an annual physical for yourself, and set a date for your dog’s yearly check-up as well!
What steps do you take when supporting your dog’s well-being? We’d love to chat! Comment below, or connect with us today.
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Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.