Dogs are notoriously happy animals - but that doesn't mean you can't take the time to make them a little happier and healthier each day.
Guide your pooch on the path to a happier and healthier life with these top tips.
1. Exercise your dog regularly
Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle - dogs or otherwise. Some breeds require much more exercise than others, which is why research of your dog's bread is so essential.
The simplest form of exercise for your dog is a walk or run, and most dogs will require at least one of these a day. If you are away from home during the day, provide your dog with a rotation of toys to keep them stimulated.
2. Be aware of common health problems
There is a large range of infections and diseases that can affect your dog. So, it is key to protect them by ensuring their vaccinations are up to date, and that they have scheduled vet visits.
As a dog owner, it is also your responsibility to be proactive about de-sexing your dog, and to be knowledgeable about common dog health issues such as fleas, tapeworm or other minor infections.
3. Socialise your dog
Allowing your dog to encounter new people, animals and places is a key to happiness and (hopefully) good behaviour.
Unlike other pets, dogs are very social animals that thrive on being around other people and going places. By taking them to the dog park or inviting friends with dogs over for play dates, your pooch will get a taste of sharing his territory and might even make some new friends along the way.
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4. Feed your dog well and consistently
Dogs require a balanced diet of age-appropriate food, and they also respond extremely well to a food routine. Try to keep their meal times consistent and avoid treating your dog to regular snacks (especially human food).
When it comes to a daily diet for your dog, be sure to consult your vet to ensure your dog is receiving the correct amount of nutrients. The amount of food your dog needs will largely depend on the size, breed, age and exercise patterns of your dog, and can also be assessed by your vet.
Some potentially harmful foods for dogs include onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, sultanas, nuts, mushrooms, fish and green unripe tomatoes.
5. Provide adequate shelter
A dog's coat is its first protection against the elements - but even the hairiest of dogs can still feel the cold or suffer from the heat. As a dog owner, it is up to you to keep your pooch safe from heat, cold, rain and wind, so ensure your backyard has suitable areas of shelter for when your dog is not indoors.
It is also a good idea to set up a designated sleeping spot for your dog. If it is inside, a crate lined with a blanket or towel is comfortable. If he is outside, setting up a specific, sheltered spot for your dog to relax is extremely important - as it will serve as additional protection from the elements.
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Last updated: December 2019
*Illness and injury cover – covers up to 80% of eligible vet bills up to $12,000 annually. Conditions, limits & exclusions apply. RAC Insurance Pty Limited is authorised by RACQ Insurance Limited (ABN 50 009 704 152, AFSL 233 082) as an agent to issue RAC Pet Insurance. This information does not take your personal objectives, circumstances or needs into account. Read the PDS and SPDS (where applicable) and TMD before making any decision. **Discount applies to the first year of insurance only.