9 Effortless ways to increase your dog's quality of life
Are you letting your pooch be all he can be? Increase your pup's quality of life with these nine simple tips.
If you're always looking for ways to make your dog happier, you're not alone, We reached out to get tips from everyone from pet charity volunteers to dog experts to get their advice on ways to improve Fido's quality of life with very little extra effort.
Think outside the box
All dogs like treats and belly scratches, but every pooch is unique. Find the things your pet loves and surprise them with their favorite activity or game as a way to break up the day. Anna Tumadóttir tells us, "Our bulldog loves conquering cardboard boxes. Any time we get a UPS or FedEx delivery, it's like the holidays!" Here's the video she shared with us if you'd like to take a look.
Contributed by Anna Tumadóttir, Humane Society volunteer and director of partner relations at CouponPal
Learn to speak dog
Dogs can't talk, but they can communicate — both audibly and with body language. Get to know your dog's unique way of talking to you. Maybe he gives a yawn-y growl/whine when he wants a treat or bores holes in the back of your head with eyes like lasers when he wants a potty break. Communication is a two-way street, and part of it's on you.
Contributed by Kimberly Gauthier of doggy blog Keep the Tail Wagging
Pet sitters are your dog's surrogate best friend
Dogs like companionship. Build a relationship with a local pet sitter. They can check in on your dog if you have to leave home without him and even have a sleepover if your dog dislikes being left alone overnight. If you work long hours, they can even just pop in to walk your fur baby while you're out.
Contributed by Veronica Roper of Royal Pet Care
Watch what they eat
You are what you eat, and so is your pup. Many commercial pet foods are made with substandard ingredients: euthanized animals, genetically modified ingredients, animals that were sick (and therefore pumped full of drugs just before they died), etc. Know what's in your pet's food and feed him only the best (all-natural) food. Better yet, feed him food you make at home.
Contributed by Jean-Pierre Ruiz of EcoStar Health, Inc. and Michelle Laing of Lincoln Bark
Get him a job
OK, not a 9 to 5, but a volunteer gig. You can have your dog certified as a therapy dog, giving the two of you a fun and rewarding way to spend time together. At the end, you'll also be able to use his newfound skills to enrich the lives of others and give him an exciting way to get to know new people and places.
Contributed by Lynette Whiteman, M.S., Executive Director of Caregiver Volunteers of Central Jersey
Stop using spot-drop treatments for fleas
They're easy, but they work by poisoning your dog’s blood supply, which when used regularly can shorten your dog's life by as much as 25 percent and are a major cause of organ failure as a cause of death. Instead, look for safe and natural options.
Contributed by Louise Hodges of Greenbug, Inc.
Give them a spa day
Taking your dog to the groomer once a month is best, but it can get really expensive. Our friends at Dog Fashion Spa showed us that you can do it at home by purchasing quality products and cleaning and pampering your dog at home. They recommend washing your dog at least once a month and using fur lotion between baths to nourish their coat and moisturizing their paws and noses to make sure they're not cracked in winter.
Contributed by Elana Volnova of Dog Fashion Spa
Get a doggie seat belt
It's fun to take our pups on vacay with us, but to be safe, many of us keep them locked in cages. We're all for keeping your dog safe, but how much happier would he be if he were secured with a doggie seat belt that allowed him to watch the world whiz by?
Contributed by Rachel Solava of Zerimax
Treat him like part of the family
Try to incorporate him into your activities as much as possible, taking him on errands or even to work if that's allowed. If taking him with you everywhere you go isn't possible, find activities you'll both like and do them! An energetic dog might like agility training, and any dog will have fun with the sights and smells of the dog park.