5 Habits to Start Today To Make Your Dog Healthier and Happier

By on August 30, 2021

We all want our four-legged companions to live healthy and fulfilled lives. But did you know that you might have some habits that do not let your pup be as well as he could? Does your pup really need that extra hotdog? When was the last time you brushed his teeth? And why would dogs need a “daily sniff time”?

Today we want to look at five new habits you can start now to let your pup be well and happy!

#1 Extra food does not mean extra love

Most dogs love food and we love to make them love us through food! But be careful: Most dogs will eat more than is good for them. About half of all dogs in the US are overweight or obese. This comes with a host of health conditions such as diabetes, kidney issues and joint pain.

Feeding your dog too much is not a sign of wellness!

Start to check your pup’s weight weekly. Weigh him and run your fingers across his sides. You should not have to push in deep to feel his ribs. If there is a solid layer of fat underneath his skin, it is time for a doggy diet!

#2 Haircare is not just for looks

With a short-coated dog like a Pitbull or Doberman, you are lucky: Your dog will not require any brushing. 

If your pup has a longer coat though, tangles and mats can happen quickly. These are not just a superficial issue: Mats can lead to skin conditions such as hotspots and sores. Make a habit out of brushing your dog every two days for a few minutes. The more often you give him a quick spin with the brush, the less involved each grooming session will be. Preventing mats and tangles is much easier than getting them resolved once they appear!

#3 Sparkling teeth

Puppies have shiny white teeth, but as our dogs become adults and seniors their teeth can get stained. Again, prevention is the best cure: Provide your dog with plenty of healthy chew items and consider brushing his teeth. Dogs who have access to chew items daily have much cleaner and healthier teeth. You can give your dog bully sticks or freeze pumpkin and yoghurt in a rubber chew toy.

If you have a small dog, chances are that you will need to get a dental cleaning for your pup at some point.

Don’t skip out on that – healthy teeth are just as important for your dog’s health as for yours.

#4 Sniffing is doggy meditation

We all know that dogs can smell very well. But did you know that sniffing is also a very calming activity for dogs? Just a couple minutes of sniffing will lower a dog’s heart rate and make him more content and relaxed.

You should aim to get your pooch at least 20 minutes of sniffing time every day. This can happen in different ways: You can take him on a slow sniff walk in your neighborhood, scatter food for him to sniff out in your yard or get him a snuffle mat for sniffing inside on rainy days.

Daily sniffing is especially important for dogs that are reactive, shy or anxious – they need our help in getting their sniffing and relaxing time in!

#5 Get moving!

Just like humans, dogs feel better and stay healthier with regular exercise. Adult dogs – even small lap dogs – are very athletic and can easily run several miles every day. While you don’t need to turn your dog into an endurance athlete, you should provide physical exercise for him every day. Most dogs do not “self-exercise” sufficiently in a yard – that means that even if you have plenty of space on your property, your dog needs you to take him on a walk or play ball with him. 

It might not be an easy habit to start, but once you have a daily exercise regime you will both enjoy it.

The Bottom Line

Dogs’ healthy habits are similar to those we humans have. Don’t let your dog overeat, keep his skin and coat in good condition, take care of his teeth, help him destress and provide adequate exercise for him. Implementing these habits into your daily routine might take some time, but in the long run they will guarantee health and happiness for your dog – as well as a long life.

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