Dogs are perhaps the most loyal, loving creatures a human can own. They deserve nothing less than a world of happiness and comfort. A true dog owner considers his or her dog a part of the family, and as humans, it is our responsibility to take care of our family members. Unfortunately, the reality is that dogs do not live as long as us, so the best thing we can do is try to prolong their lives as much as possible. Here are 5 ways to ensure your dog lives a longer and happier life:
#1 Watch your dog's diet
One of the largest risks of a dog is overeating and becoming overweight. Being domestic animals, they spend a lot of their day lounging around the house and eating food. Even if you take your dog out regularly for walks, it's still important to control your dog's portions and follow the recommended amounts for his or her specific size, activity level, and overall health. Additionally, feed your dog foods that contain a balanced amount of vitamins and nutrients in order to support his or her immune, brain, heart, and digestive function.
#2 Try out food puzzles
Food puzzles are a great way to stimulate your dog's brain. While many dogs live to eat, some dogs are pickier than others and may veer off from a consistent eating schedule. When you use food puzzles, you prevent your dog from getting bored, and consequently, make him or her excited for the next meal. Some dog owners keep it simple by hiding kibble throughout a space or letting the dog play with a peanut-butter filled rubber Kong toy.
#3 Regularly walk your dog
Like humans, dogs need their daily exercise to maintain a healthy weight and keep their hormones in a good balance. Exercising helps release healthy endorphins that reduce stress hormones such as cortisol. If you have a dog who spends the majority of his or her time indoors, then it is all the more crucial that you bring your dog outside so he or she can get some fresh air. Just being outdoors after being cooped up in the house all day long will do wonders for your dog's mood and mental health.
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#4 Teach your dog new tricks
Dogs can suffer serious physical health problems as a result of poor mental health, which is why it's important to keep your dog's mind occupied. A great way to do ensure this is by teaching your dog new tricks. Contrary to popular belief, old dogs can learn new tricks so long as you have the patience to let them see it through. Most dogs are taught behavioral commands as puppies, such as sit and stay, but you can always challenge yourself and see if your dog can pick up more of a "performance" type trick, like rollover or play dead.
#5 Take your dog for check-ups
To keep track of your dog's medical health, you should always bring him or her to the vet for check-ups at least once a year. Your vet will help you catch health problems and also give suggestions on how you can treat or improve certain conditions. The vet can also prescribe preventative medications to keep your dog in tip-top health. At home, you should brush your teeth's dog every day and also have them cleaned professionally every so often. Dental disease is one of the easiest ways for your dog to develop serious complications.