I mentioned that I would be blogging a bit more about topics relating to dogs, so I wanted to start out with a pretty basic post: seven things your dog needs! By “things” I don’t mean toys or specific products, but basic needs that are often overlooked.
Seven things your dog needs
1. Good health
What does good health mean for a dog? It means seeing the vet regularly for check ups and vaccinations, getting bathed and groomed, taking a monthly heartworm preventative, being treated for fleas and ticks when necessary, having proper dental care, and being fed the correct amount of a high quality food.
Exercise is also a crucial part of a dog’s health regime. A daily walk, jog, swim, or game of frisbee will keep your dog healthy and happy. I know of a few people that have large fenced-in yards and have said that letting their dog out to play is good enough exercise for him/her. It’s not. A dog won’t run laps around the yard, and if it does, it’s not enough. Your dog wants to exercise with you and go places!
There are a lot of things you can do to make sure your dog is safe. First and foremost, provide your dog with a collar and identification tags that include your phone number. Having your dog microchipped can be a big help if he/she gets lost because a vet or shelter can access your contact information via the microchip. Other ways you can keep your furry friend safe include spaying or neutering your dog because sterilized animals are less likely to roam, and keeping your dog on a leash when out and about.
3. A leader
Your dog needs a leader, and that needs to be you! Dogs actually thrive off of rules, limitations, and boundaries. Your dog needs to know that you’re in charge, and that he/she can trust you to be the leader. This is a great article by Cesar Milan on establishing leadership in your relationship with your dog.
Socializing your dog will teach it to behave well in public and will also make for a happy dog. Take your dog with you wherever you can and try to provide him or her with as many different experiences as possible. Do you like to go camping? Take your dog. Are you headed out to run some errands? Take your dog! You get the point.
Other ideas include bringing your dog to the pet store, dog park (make sure he/she is up-to-date on vaccinations!), obedience and training classes, different walking locations, and play dates with friends’ dogs. Just like most humans, many dogs love stimulation and trying new things. It makes for great memories, too!
Challenging your dog’s mind and body in a safe way is something that your dog needs. Your dog is less likely to engage in destructive behaviors such as chewing, excessive barking or whining, and more when he/she isn’t bored. A tired dog is a happy dog!
Teach your dog new tricks or create obstacle courses to go through with him/her. Try bringing out your pup’s breed by having it hunt, herd, run, or fetch. You can also provide your dog with new, challenging toys. A great toy that will help keep your dog’s mind busy is a KONG, which can be filled with healthy treats.
Dogs can seem so happy-go-lucky that it’s easy to forget that they are sensitive to stress. Creating a routine for your dog can be very comforting to him/her and will ease feelings of instability. A routine for your dog can include having set times for feeding, walking, going to the bathroom, and snuggling. Providing your dog with their own spot in the house–whether it’s a crate or bed–and allowing them to have their own toys or blankets also provides comfort when he/she may feel stressed out.
This one should be pretty easy! If you’re a leader for your dog and provide what he/she needs, your dog will look up to you and want your attention. Most dogs truly enjoy your affection, so spend time petting, snuggling, and just relaxing with them. This is a great article on the right and wrong times to give your dog affection.
What else do you think dogs need?