40 Ways to Keep Your Dog Happy
Have you ever watched your dog sleep? His paws twitch, his tail wags and he lets out little barks.
Perhaps he’s dreaming of a romp through a meadow or a game of fetch with his best friend. Ever wish you could make him this happy while he was awake? You can. Here are 40 ways to brighten his day – and maybe his whole life.
1. Groom often. Regular brushing doesn’t just make your pooch look pretty; it also helps prevent skin disease and can strengthen the bond between you.
2. Feed him like a king. A high-quality food promotes your dog’s health and well-being.
3. Banish fleas! These pesky insects can make your dog miserable, plus they can cause allergies and transmit tapeworms. Ask your vet for treatment recommendations.
4. Play each day. Dogs don’t understand when you say, “I had a rough day at work and I just want to lie on the couch.” Take the time to play; you might be surprised how much better you’ll both feel.
5. Help him age gracefully. Just like you wouldn’t feed dog food to a cat, don’t let your puppy eat adult food or your senior dog eat puppy food.
6. Keep his water fresh. Would you like to drink water that’s been sitting in a bowl for days? Neither does he! Plenty of fresh water is vital to your dog’s good health, so keep his water dish full and change it daily.
7. Take a trip. Whether it’s a drive out to the country or a quick jaunt to the park down the road, your dog will love the change of scenery.
8. Don’t play doctor. Unless you’re a vet, don’t try to treat your dog’s ailments yourself. Medicines meant for humans can have adverse effects on dogs. Your vet can provide appropriate remedies and advise you on keeping a canine first-aid kit handy. It may save your dog’s life.
9. Dog-proof your home. Take a dog’s view and look for possible dangers your house poses to your pooch. Do you see a dangling electrical cord? An inviting, open cupboard full of cleaning supplies? Sharp tools in plain view? Put away anything that could injure a curious canine.
10. Update your phone list. When you save important numbers in your phone, be sure to include your vet’s number, along with the after-hours number in case of an emergency.
11. Walk, walk, walk. Just like humans, dogs need to get a good dose of exercise to keep healthy and happy.
12. Spay or neuter. Neutered pets often lead longer, healthier lives. And it’s good to know that you’re doing your part to prevent pet overpopulation.
13. Keep him slim. A slim, trim dog is a happy dog, so say no to table scraps and yes to exercise.
14. Clip those nails. When his nails get too long, your dog could be in discomfort. Ask your vet to teach you the tricks of trimming.
15. Check those toys. Take a look at the toys your dog treasures. Are they safe and durable? Keep a special eye out for small parts that could be easily swallowed or sharp edges that could injure him.
16. Let him sniff. Dogs love to sniff; it helps them discover new facts about their world. Take your dog to a park, an open field, or your favorite walking trail and let him sniff all the new scents.
17. Fetch! Head out to the garden to toss around a rubber ball or teach your dog to catch a Frisbee.
18. Try to understand his language. Your dog can’t tell you how he’s feeling, so you need to learn to read his body language. Low-hanging tail? This can mean fear or anxiety. Wagging tail? Happiness, of course! If you keep your eyes peeled, pretty soon you’ll be a pooch-language pro.
19. Keep his ears clean to avoid ear problems due to common mites and infections. To clean his ears, fill his ear canal with ear cleaner, massage the base of the ear for 30 seconds, then wipe out the loose debris and excess fluid. Talk to him gently while you’re doing this and give him a treat afterward.
20. Make cuddle time. There’s nothing quite like curling up with a good dog. Spend some special time holding and hugging your pooch. Let him know how cherished he is.
21. Keep him safe. Millions of dogs get lost each year – make sure your dog isn’t one of them. Determine the best identification option for your dog, whether it’s a collar tag, or a microchip. Make sure you abide by local laws.
22. Give him new chews. Chewing reduces stress and helps decrease barking. Provide your dog safe chew toys to satisfy his instincts.
23. Hit the water. Just about any breed of dog can learn to love water, and some dogs are naturals when paddling around.
24. Play “Find the Treat.” Tell your dog to sit and stay, Show him a treat, then put it behind a door or chair or under a towel. Tell him to “find the treat,” and praise him when he does.
25. Scrap the scraps. Eating too much human food can cause several problems in dogs, including obesity, intestinal problems, choking and hyperactivity.
26. Snap his picture. Many dogs love to ham it up
27. Chat. Dogs seem to think they’re human, so why not treat them like they are? Sit down with your dog for a heart-to-heart. He’ll cock his head and listen intently.
28. Beat the heat. During the hot summer months, only exercise your dog in the cooler hours – generally morning and evening. If he’s outside during the day, provide a shady area or maybe even a wading pool.
29. Don’t dodge doctors. Even if your dog’s not a fan of going to the vet, remember that regular checkups are vital to his health.
30. Brush. Taking good care of your dog’s teeth can prevent gum disease, tooth loss and bad breath. And the real benefit? Daily dental care can lengthen his life.
31. Bath time. Your dog needs baths, even if he doesn’t think so. Make the process as enjoyable as possible by being gentle. Remember to use a dog shampoo formulated to meet dogs’ special skin needs.
32. Skip the sweets. You know that old warning about chocolate being poisonous to dogs? It’s true. Keep your dog safe by keeping him away from chocolate and sweets..
33. Teach him a new trick. Give your dog a lesson on how to roll over or play dead. He’ll be proud to show off his tricky techniques to anyone willing to watch.
34. Be gentle. Don’t ever hit, threaten, frighten or force-train your dog. Though he may make a few mistakes (who doesn’t?), he is relying on your love to teach him the differences of right and wrong.
35. Take your dog out to socialize. Dogs need interaction with their peers too, so try and find a way for them to make friends.
36. Bring the blankie. Whether you’re taking your dog along on a trip or leaving him with a friend or at a kennel, be sure to bring his favorite blanket. The familiar scent and feel of it will comfort him as he cuddles up and dreams of home.
37. Do a dance. Play a lively song on the stereo and dance with your dog.
38. Be best friends. Treat your dog right and you’ll be showered with loyalty, love and friendship – not to mention all those happy, sloppy, one-of-a-kind dog kisses that make your day.
39. Don’t always take the same route on walks. This is good for the mental stimulation that comes with new smells and sights (and it’s interesting for you too!).
40. Be happy together! A happy parent is a happy dog!