Wagging tails and slobbery kisses are always signs of a happy and healthy pup. You want that tail to wag as often as possible, but deciphering your dog’s specific needs isn’t always easy. They can’t tell you what they want, and you haven’t quite mastered those doggy mind-reading skills. If you’re worried your dog isn’t feeling as good as he should, there are steps you can take to improve their quality of life. Here are a few easy ideas that nearly all dogs will appreciate.
# 1 – Personalize Their Exercise Plan
You already know daily exercise is an essential part of keeping your pup healthy and happy. It’s not a question of whether or not your dog gets exercise, but what kind of exercise they like best. A basic dog walk is good, but consider adding different kinds of exercise to your pup’s routine. Let them indulge in the activities that really get their heart pumping. If your dog loves fetch, spend time throwing the ball. If they like the water, find somewhere they can splash and swim. Find out what your dog likes and give them plenty of opportunities to let loose.
# 2- Bolster Their Toy Collection
Instead of spending money on dozens of dog toys, it’s okay to be picky about your pup’s playthings. Invest in high-quality toys that are designed for fun and made from safe materials. Interactive puzzle toys cost more than the average chew toy, but they’re worth it. They engage dogs in meaningful playtime that works both body and mind. Your pup will always enjoy shredding stuffed animals and putting teeth marks in rubber chews, but try adding a new puzzle toy to the mix to keep them engaged and interested.
#3 – Provide Purpose
Napping all day, cuddles on the couch, and no stressful responsibilities—the life of a dog sounds like a dream. A day of no work would be nice, but a life without direction isn’t what every dog wants. All dogs—working breeds especially—thrive when they have a job to do. They love their naps, but a life with minimal stimulation is hardly fulfilling. Training your dog gives them structure and purpose. Consider teaching your dog agility, nose work, or herding. If those skills seem out of reach, start with learning a new trick every week.
#4 – Shift Their Perspective on Grooming
Grooming is one of those things that is essential for a dog’s happiness and health, but at the same time, it’s a source of stress and discomfort. If your pup doesn’t like to sit still long enough to be brushed or panics every time they see the nail clippers, you can improve their quality of life with positive reinforcement. Regular grooming should be a bonding opportunity, not a chore. You can’t skip it because your dog puts up a fight, but you can make it as stress-free as possible. Reinforce the session with high-quality treats, soothing praise, and lots of love.
#5 – Provide Social Enrichment
You and your dog are best friends, but it’s good to expand their circle. The chance to interact with other dogs and humans is essential for doggy happiness and well-being. If your pup does well with lots of other dogs, take them on regular trips to a dog park. If they’re not comfortable with large groups of dogs, try one-on-one doggy dates with a compatible playmate. If they seriously dislike other canines, invite your human friends over and let them dote on the dog.
#6 – Invest in Quality Food
Owning a dog is expensive. Between vet visits and pet supplies, the dollar signs add up. It can be tempting to save a few bucks by choosing a cheaper dog food, but your dog’s diet is the last thing you want to skimp on. The food they eat is the fuel they need to stay healthy. Dog foods with corn and wheat gluten, food dyes, rendered fat, and meat-meal by-products are more affordable, but they leave unhealthy gaps in nutrition. You can keep your dog feeling and looking good by spending a little more on high-quality dog food.