How to Keep a Dog Happy and Healthy: New Owner GUIDE

Dogs are some of the most popular pets in the world, and for a good reason. They’re incredibly affectionate, loyal, and make great companions.

However, taking care of a dog can be a lot of work. Not only do you have to worry about feeding them and making sure they have enough exercise, but you also need to make sure they’re healthy and happy.

Here are a few tips on how to keep a dog happy and healthy in our busy world.

How To Keep a Dog Happy and Healthy

exercise and socialization make a dog happy
Go out there and socialize. Allow your dog to play at a nearby dog park.

A dog needs some basic things to stay happy and healthy. A dog needs fresh air, exercise, socialization, play, mental stimulation, healthy food, and veterinary care.

Dogs can suffer from anxiety, neglect, loneliness, depression, and boredom, so a key to keeping them happy and healthy is to spend time loving, cuddling, playing, talking, training, and exercising together.

How Do I Keep My Dog Happy and Healthy With Exercise?

Make sure your dog has plenty of exercise. Dogs need at least an hour of exercise every day.

If you can’t provide that yourself, consider hiring a pet sitter or taking your dog to a doggy daycare center.

Many dogs love agility training which exercises body and mind, gives you fun time with your dog, and gives your dog socialization with other dogs.

Dogs can participate in agility competitions which are fun for everyone.

Take your dog for walks, hikes, swimming (if he’s able to swim), and other fun outdoor activities.

Dogs love to participate, so taking your dog to enjoy the great outdoors is a great way to stay healthy and happy.

How Do I Keep My Dog Happy and Healthy With Diet?

Feed your dog a healthy diet. Just like humans, dogs need to eat a balanced diet in order to stay healthy.

Make sure you’re feeding your dog food that is specifically designed for their age, size, and activity level.

You should also avoid giving them table scraps, as this can lead to obesity.

If your dog is obese, consider using a weight-loss dog food that will help him feel healthy while decreasing caloric load.

How Do I Keep My Dog Happy and Healthy With Healthcare?

dogs need veterinary care to stay healthy
Dogs need healthcare and veterinary attention to stay happy and healthy.

Take your dog to the vet regularly. It’s important to take your dog to the vet at least once a year for a checkup.

This will help catch any potential health problems before they become serious.

Keep an eye on your dog’s habits all the time. Notice if he’s breathing heavily, limping, having difficulty chewing, swallowing, or defecating.

If your dog is sleeping more than usual, having trouble running or staying active, or seems more lethargic than usual, it’s time for a vet checkup.

Does Dental Hygiene Impact My Dog’s Happiness and Health?

Brush your dog’s teeth regularly. Dogs need to have their teeth brushed just like humans do. Otherwise, they can develop dental problems such as gum disease.

Gum disease is extremely common in dogs because they usually don’t get any dental care.

Gum disease, periodontitis, can lead to many health problems including heart disease.

Gum disease, tooth decay, and bone loss are preventable with regular dental care at home and at the vet.

Do Cuddles Ensure My Dog’s Happiness and Health?

Absolutely. Dogs are social, loving animals that thrive on attention, love, pets, cuddles, and playtime.

In order to be happy and healthy, dogs require attention and love from their owners.

Make sure you’re spending enough time with your dog. If your dog feels neglected he can suffer from anxiety and boredom, and begin acting out with destructive behavior.

Do Toys Help My Dog Stay Happy and Healthy?

Dogs need toys to be happy
Dogs love to play. Play helps them stay mentally sharp and provides physical, emotional, and social support and care.

Toys can never replace human interaction, but dogs that don’t have anything to do can quickly get bored.

Dogs need mental stimulation to stay mentally healthy and keep out of trouble.

Use toys to encourage exercise, spend time with your dog, and keep him busy when you’re away.

We love to leave our dogs with indestructible chew toys so we know they’re happily playing with toys that won’t pose a choking hazard while we’re away.

We also love to give our dogs puzzle toys. These require problem-solving skills to get treats and kibble.

These are great to keep dogs thinking and give them treats without letting them wolf them down.

Wrapping Up

Dogs’ needs aren’t that much different than our needs, which is why dogs are such wonderful companions for us.

They just need care differently than we do, and they can’t provide that care for themselves.

Remember that your dog is a whole being with mental, emotional, social, and healthcare needs and you’ll be sure to keep your dog healthy and happy for its lifetime.

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Jesse Hopping, CCDT

Jesse is a natural-born dog-lover certified dog trainer (CCDT), dog foster, and former volunteer at Richmond SPCA and surrounding dog shelters for over 10 years. Her pack includes a Bernedoodle and 3 Boston Terriers. She’s sipping caramel coffee and watching her pack play in the sun when she’s not writing blogs. Jesse has her Certified Dog Trainer designation from CATCH Canine Trainers Academy since 2018 and and majored in English from the University of Virginia.

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