As any pet owner can confirm, our furry friends deserve the very best. This doesn’t just apply to creating the healthiest possible home environments, where snuggles and snacks abound, but in managing a pet’s daily activities, too.
It goes without saying that all dogs are different, but there are some standard ways to create healthy routines. After all, here at Friday’s Dog, we’re all about giving them the very best. Check out five of our favorite ways to spend time with our dogs.
Walking + Hiking
Get those steps in! It might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s worth reiterating: dogs need a lot of daily activity. These days, many more people are able to work from home, allowing for lunchtime walks or breaks in the middle of the day. For many pets, though, the day often consists of waiting for owners to come home. If that’s the case, setting aside a larger amount of time in the morning and evening for a nice long walk is essential.
Creating a consistent walking routine is great for a dog’s cardiovascular health, and this kind of routine also tends to link to lower blood pressure, higher levels of alertness, and a decrease in stress. As an added bonus, humans receive many of those same benefits! For dogs, though, walk time should be about much more than just letting pets stretch their legs and relieve themselves — it’s a time to heighten the senses and provide mental stimulation, too.
Whether your dog thrives making friends at the dog park or enjoys connecting with other animals in a one-on-one setting, socializing your four-legged friend is a great way to enhance their long-term health. Interacting with other dogs frequently — especially when a dog is still a puppy — allows them to interact with the world in a healthy way, avoiding building up habits that invoke fear or aggression.
It’s hard to avoid negative experiences for the entire duration of a pet’s life, but frequently interacting with other happy dogs can help avoid long-term negative impacts after a less than stellar interaction. If your dog doesn’t thrive at the dog park, it’s okay to start them slow. Finding just one other dog for a puppy playdate can ease a dog into a social environment, and building up the amount of new friends from there can make the experience less stressful or overwhelming. Plus, being around other dogs for playtime will naturally require a pet to become more active, yielding many of those same benefits involved with long walks and hikes.
Fetch And Other Outdoor Games
On busy days, playing games is a great way to burn off some energy for your dog. There’s the all-time classic, fetch, which taps into a few natural instincts for dogs: they like the feeling of chasing and retrieving, and tend to love the praise (and sometimes, treats!) that comes with a job well done.
For dogs that just aren’t that into fetch, there are plenty of other ways to engage their brains and bodies. For some dogs, it’s swimming. For others, it’s obstacle courses or training time learning new tricks. Again, all furry friends are different, and it’s all about figuring out what makes your dog happiest. (Although, of course, the thing that tends to make dogs happiest is just spending time with their beloved owner.)
While caring for our pet’s hearts and minds is essential, it’s also important to make sure they’re taken care of on the outside, too. Maintaining regular grooming ensures that a dog is in its best condition, and allows an owner to keep an eye on changes in a dog’s fur or skin. Catching any new issues, or even noticing lumps, bumps, or bruises, will make sure that bigger problems don’t take root without an owner’s knowledge. Trimming a dog’s nails, brushing their teeth, giving them regular baths, and making sure they aren’t accumulating fleas or ticks are all great habits.
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, most dogs just want to spend time with their owners. Establishing a strong bond with a pet is good for everyone involved. Some pets are cuddlebugs and want to be as close to an owner as possible, indulging in all the belly rubs and sleepytime snuggles they can get; others just want to be near their owner. Figure out what your dog likes best, and deepen that emotional connection with every passing day.
Ultimately, a dog’s health depends on you, the owner, being perceptive to their needs. Here at Friday’s Dog, we’re dog lovers first and foremost, and want to be here to support owners of all kinds in giving dogs the best life possible.