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5 Tips to Keeping Your Four-Legged Friend Happy

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You know that dogs are man’s best friend, but did you know that they’re also one of the most popular pets in the country? With an estimated 78.2 million dogs living in American homes (according to a 2013–2014 survey by the American Pet Products Association), it’s not surprising that dog owners

like yourself will be doing everything they can to keep their pets happy and healthy. But how do you keep your pup safe and out of the vet’s office? See these five tips!

1. Keep up with your dog’s health

If you have a dog, keep up with its health. Make sure to go to the vet for regular check-ups, and make sure to brush your dog’s teeth regularly. If you need to bathe your dog, make sure to use a shampoo designed specifically for dogs, and follow up with a conditioning treatment.

1 MAKE YOUR DOG SNEAKY

Despite being a round-headed creature, dogs can be very smart animals. When startled, or startled in general, they send a set of nerves down the spinal cord to the brain stem. They do this so they can react to whatever stimulus is just outside the area where their nerves are located. This can happen anywhere from a loud noise to the smell of a 50-mile per hour speeding ticket. Not only will your pup still be breathing, even if his or her reaction to your shock is stronger than what’s normally felt by an animal who wouldn’t be startled, but having a bit of distance can combat the “flight-or-fight” response a dog typically has.

If you decide to let your dog get outside, try leaving a few feet of space around you. Some people intentionally find shoes or other objects on the ground that can hide a dog’s scent as they walk by, and if you can get your dog to stand in front of you and remain in view of the ground, then you’ve made a great step one in keeping your puppy safe.

2 HAVE AN ANTENNA

If dogs have an aversion to a particular smell or sound, they may be scared even if it’s nothing more than a trash can moving slowly down the street. When this happens, you’ll find that your puppy’s anxiety is exponentially worse than a scared child or other pet. Treating your dog like a wild animal (rather than like a bundle of wet towels waiting to get to the vet) can help get it to calm down if it starts acting panicked.

If they start growling, stop what you’re doing and come over to pet your puppy.

2. Walk your dog frequently, and make sure they’re getting enough exercise every day

It’s important to walk your dog frequently, at least once a day, if not twice. Your dog needs exercise to stay healthy, so make sure you are giving them enough exercise.

Reevaluate your own home. Are the rooms and areas that are “at distressing levels” bright and inviting for your dog to come to and spend time in? Your dog can be drawn to dark places around the house if there are smells (like urine), so make sure you’re offering as much territory for your pup to use as they wish.

Help your dog find toys and bones. While most older dogs can sniff out toys from a mile away, running and jumping on people’s shoulders and barking at them where the bones are is a far more difficult task that your dog can easily accomplish. If you have an easily accessible yard for your dog to run around, give them a few toys to explore and evidence of the bones they’re digging up — whatever it takes to keep them interested.

Always keep your dog on a short leash. There have been studies that have shown that the more a dog is off-leash in an enclosed space, the more aggressive and damaging they tend to be. Help keep your dog safe by only letting them outside for short amounts of time, and talk to them outside about it.

Keep your home neat. A clean, neat home sets the expectation for your dog that everything is always clean and neat, and the added exercise helps curb their restlessness.

Play with them. Do some outdoor exercises with your dog and encourage them to sniff out the local deterrents (insects, slimy pets) that scurry around your neighborhood. Have them follow you as you walk and jostle for their playing pieces as you play fetch with them.

Prepare your car for short trips.

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3. Feed your dog a high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs

Feeding your dog a high-quality diet is important for their health, but it can be hard to know what is good for them. To make sure your dog is eating right, follow these guidelines: -Make sure your dog is getting the nutrients they need for healthy development.These include a variety of quality protein sources, such as eggs, meat, seafood and vegetables. -Make sure there are plenty of high-quality carbohydrates and fiber. For example, adding apple slices to your dog’s drink or splitting a bagel between the two of you can keep them full, satisfied and energized. -Don’t forget fruits and vegetables, too. Double-filing fruit as snacks is always a hit with our pups. -Give your pooch a daily vitamin or mineral boost and try getting your dog a multivitamin with more than 30 different micro-nutrients. Try including more fruits and veggies, bones, seeds and some animal byproducts, like dog food. Or try turning your dog’s favorite treats into treats instead.

These strategies are all low-hanging fruit that you can start implementing as soon as possible. Going the extra mile to make sure your pup has healthful nutrition is a worthwhile investment.

4. Take your dog to the vet regularly for checkups and vaccines

If you own a dog, you should try to take them to the vet for checkups and vaccines regularly, just like you would for any other human family member. If you don’t have the money to take your dog to the vet, you should consider getting insurance to cover your pet’s health care expenses.

If you have a pet, your veterinarian should be able to give you advice about how and when to get your dog vaccinated. At the same time, you and your veterinarian should be able to create an individualized vaccination schedule for your particular dog, depending on how often you bring your dog to the vet, the type of dog you have, and much more.

As with any pet, your dog’s behavior could causing other problems, which is why it’s key to take any precautions you can to get your dog socialized and healthy as soon as possible. There are things you can do to make your dog a better pet for you, like increasing the time they spend indoors with you and getting them on a daily walks.

After you’ve vaccinated your dog, keep an eye out for canine distemper. This contagious disease affects primarily dogs and is spread through the air when dogs “round” (play together, as if for the ball, see-saw, etc.) and then sneeze, cough, or talk. Some people may also have an upset stomach, but it’s rare. The good news is that if you have an indoor dog, dog parks offer some important shelter and outdoor areas for dogs, and with the right practices, purrs, rugby pups, and cross-contaminated breath can be found in other locations too. So, make sure your dog is socialized and healthy, and at the very least, he or she will be off your back tons of the time.

Pet insurance can really help you maintain control of your pet’s health while also ensuring that you aren’t responsible for any excess expenses (like pain and illness). Asking for a pet insurance policy as part of your auto or homeowners insurance can be even more helpful.

5. Train your dog so they can be safe around you and others

Training your dog is an important aspect of making sure that they’re accepting of your lifestyle and that they’re safe around other people. Dogs that are well-behaved and can control their emotions around other people are much less likely to cause harm to others.

Consideration

Before bringing a new pet to your home, consider what the best environment is for your new addition. If you’re traveling with a dog, choose a cabin where you won’t have to hear other people or pets for excessive duration.

Ownership

Your dog will need to be spayed or neutered, and it is important to hit all the correct puberty signs. This includes marking important body areas, like the eyes and underarms. If your puppy pees on furniture, mark it, or improve the furniture if the animal won’t learn this behavior after repetition. This will keep the furniture from getting an F-grade odor.

Toys

Give your dog a T-shirt or other item with a collar and a tag to indicate that it’s a play set, and teach your puppy to bite a rubber ball when it gets tired.

Grooming your dog

It is important to remember that just because your dog is a “furrayer” or “pet” that means he or she has personal grooming practices and etiquette to remember. Thus, try visiting a local groomer. There are several grooming companies who offer classes for people who want to adopt dogs. Greyhounds, Chows, and Boston Terriers are the three most common breeds that are available to potential adopters. Also, take your time in choosing a dog who matches your lifestyle. A ball of fur is, in other words, less than ideal. Make a profile of your ideal dog.

Pet sitting

As I’ve written before, many of our clients will bring their pets with them on vacation. If you don’t like the idea, you’re going to be designated pet sitting for the duration of your vacation.


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