Taking care of our canine companions can be seen as equally simple as it is complicated. At times they seem to just handle a lot of things on their own, except for needing to be fed and walked, but then we remember how much more complex these animals are and how much extra care they require for them to continue to be their loyal, happy and friendly selves. To help you make sure that your dog is getting the best treatment possible for a happy and healthy lifestyle, we’ve put together this guide for you to use.
Good Shelter And A Bed
Many people believe that dogs are meant to be kept outside, and actually, this is perfectly acceptable, as long as you follow a few important rules. Your dog needs to have access to somewhere out of the elements and somewhere to keep them warm. Certain dogs like malamutes and huskies are simply built different from other dogs, and their fur keeps them so incredibly warm that you’ll have likely seen videos of them hunkered down in the snow, refusing to come inside. It entirely depends on the breed of dog you have and how much shelter and warmth they need, so for outdoor dogs with shorter hair, it might be worth providing them with a spacious, heated kennel area with a comfy bed they can retreat to. Breeds with warm fur suitable for arctic conditions will still enjoy a place they can escape to as well but might not need extra heating or insulation.
Access To Clean Water
Your dog is likely going to have no qualms with drinking from every water source they find – lakes, streams, puddles, swimming pools – the list can go on and on. However, dogs have a tougher digestive system than humans, but it doesn’t mean that these water sources won’t risk making them sick. In fact, there are a number of waterborne diseases that your dog can contract from unclean water sources. This includes leptospirosis, which can make your dog very sick and can even be fatal. It can be contracted from stagnant bodies of water which your dog then swims in or drinks from. Cryptosporidiosis is another disease that they can get, which can lead to dehydration. Try to keep your dog away from unsafe water sources as much as possible and provide them with access to fresh water at all times to reduce their likelihood of seeking out their own sources. However, don’t worry too much if it happens every now and again as dogs will be dogs, and they are fairly resilient animals.
Feed Them Properly
There are countless diets out there for dogs, and each is backed up by its own evidence and reasons for choosing those particular foods for your dog. You can acquire many different types of dog foods and treats from online pet retailers such as Time For Paws. They stock many variations of food, from vegetable-based kibble to meat products. While meat is a staple part of most diets for dogs, it can be combined with safe, fresh fruits and vegetables, which are also suitable for dogs to ingest. This is what they would naturally eat in the wild to complement their protein intake from meat, being natural omnivores. In fact, due to their omnivorous digestive system, dogs can even live on an all-vegan diet and live a very healthy lifestyle. Some dogs are even allergic to meat proteins, meaning that they have very little choice in the matter. Speak to your vet before you make a specific diet choice like this, however.
It’s said that, on average, a dog will need roughly 30 minutes to 2 hours of exercise every day. This will vary between specific dogs and breeds, with smaller dogs needing less than larger ones. It’s worth taking your dog out twice a day for fresh air and a walk, splitting their daily exercise requirement between these two walks. If possible, find somewhere in which you can let them off their lead if they are well-behaved and let them burn off some energy. At the same time, bring a ball or something for them to chase and retrieve, providing mental and physical stimulation. This will help reduce their chances of getting stressed and even depressed.
Play With Your Dog
As well as exercising your dog, you’ll also want to make sure to provide them with plenty of direct contact in the form of play and training. This, like exercise, can stimulate their brains, reducing the risk of them suffering from mental health problems such as anxiety and depression, which are actually very common among dogs. A lack of socialising can be debilitating for most animals, and even if there are no other dogs around for them to play with, playing with you will help them to feel loved and happy. Training is a great way to encourage this positivity, too, as dogs are notoriously well adjusted to obeying commands and being disciplined. Positive training can give them a sense of purpose and will keep them fixated on you, eradicating the risk of distraction and disobedience. This will give you more control over your animal in high-stress situations and reduce the chances of accidents happening.