Who loves us unconditionally and more than anyone else on the planet ever could? Yup, our dogs. Having a dog can be one of the greatest joys in life. After a long day at work, there is nothing better than to come home to your dog who is beyond excited to see you. No matter what the day brought…our dogs make it better. Understanding what our dog needs and the basics of healthly pet care allows us to take the very best care of our furry family members!
Our dogs offer us companionship, keep us warm when it’s cold, go on adventures with us, entertain us with their goofy behaviors, and are the best snugglers on the planet.
Having a dog can combat loneliness and depression, enhance our lives by inspiring us to be more active, and even help reduce our stress.
1. Give Your Dog a Job
Dogs thrive when they have a job. Not only will it make them happy, but giving your dog a job comes with a lot of health and behavior benefits that can help them steer clear of mischievous behaviors.
The Benefits of Giving Your Dog a Job
- Helps them express extra energy
- Helps to reduce anxiety
- Tires them out so they rest more
- Exercises their body
- Stimulates their mind
- Combats boredom
- Can strengthen your bond with your dog
- Makes them happy!
2. Take Care of Your Dog’s Digestive Health
Your dog’s gut health is vital not only for their physical health but for their mental health as well.
Does your dog vomit often? Are they fast eaters? Slow feeders are great for helping dogs slow down while they eat, allowing them more time to digest their food because they are only able to eat a little at a time instead of inhaling their whole bowl of kibble in the blink of an eye.
Slow Feeders May Also Be Helpful for
- Weight Loss
When the dog isn’t able to put a lot of food in their mouth at once they end up chewing their food better and giving them a longer meal experience.
- Prevent Vomiting
If your dog is gulping their food down fast, chances are they’re swallowing too much air along with it. This can cause the dog to vomit or regurgitate his meal.
- Stimulates Dog’s Mind
Fun feeders can turn feeding time into a stimulating job.
3. Socialize Your Dog
Socializing your dog from an early age helps them become happy, healthy, and well-adjusted adult dogs who can be social with other dogs without being reactive.
Properly socializing your dog includes getting them comfortable with being touched on all the different parts of their body. You wouldn’t want your dog snapping at a child in the dog park because he got his tail pulled.
Having a well-socialized dog is important if you live in an apartment building so that your dog is comfortable around all the different people they will pass when coming and going.
When you have a socialized dog, you and your furry friend get to enjoy so many more adventures together.
Fun Things to Do With Your Socialized Dog
- Visit a dog-friendly cafe or restaurant
- Bring them to a training class
- Visit a local pet store to shop for dog treats
- Take a trip to doggie daycare
- Find your favorite dog park and visit often
- Make doggie playdates
4. Stimulate Your Dog’s Mind
If you’re coming home from work and finding that your dog has been chewing on things that don’t belong to them or destroying property that isn’t meant to be destroyed—your dog may benefit from some activities that will stimulate their mind.
5 Simple Things to Stimulate Your Dogs Mind
- Dog puzzles
- Make them work to get treats by stuffing their treats in a Kong or even hiding them wrapped in an old towel inside a box
- Let them stop to smell all the wonderful smells they stop to sniff around on your walks
- Keep a variety of dog toys in a bin where they can access them
- Train them to do tricks (like putting all those toys away)
5. Exercise With Your Pet
Exercising with your dog is not only great for their health but yours too. Getting physical activity together with your dog is a great way to strengthen the bond between you. Daily exercise is also great for you and your dog’s mental health and is a good way to relieve stress.
6 Easy Ways to Get Exercise With Your Dog
- Play fetch
- Walk your dog
- Visit dog parks
- Play frisbee in the park
6. Regular Wellness Checkups at the Vet
Having an annual wellness checkup for your furry friend helps track their physical growth, social development, and allows you to ask questions about any changes or concerns you have with your pet.
It’s important to keep up with your dog’s vaccination schedule and an annual visit makes this easy. It’s also a good time to get any preventable medicines you may give to your dog, like flea and tick repellent or heartworm prevention. Regular vet visits will also help identify any early signs of disease that your veterinarian may offer suggested treatments for to help prevent serious illness.
7. Create a Routine With Your Dog
Humans and animals create routines in their life. Just as a child does best with a routine, so too does a dog. Getting your dog into as much of a daily routine as you can is beneficial for the both of you. Your dog will know what to expect and when which can prevent undesirable behaviors and anxiety.
A routine lets them know when they can expect to be fed, walked, and even when snuggle time is. This is especially important if you work outside of your apartment and are away from home for bigger chunks of time. They will know when to expect you to take them out or know when to expect their next meal. A routine gives them confidence that you will be home generally at the same time every day and that they don’t need to worry about their needs being met.
8. Make Homemade Dog Treats Together
Making homemade dog treats can be super fun for you and your sweet baby to do together. Dogs love to be in the kitchen when their humans are preparing food! If they’re lucky, you may even let them lick the bowl and throw them a little bite while preparing some yummy treats for them.
Making homemade dog treats is a great way to control what goes into your dog’s treats especially if they have any food allergies or sensitivities. There are so many awesome recipes online to try. You can even find dog treat premade mixes (think brownies from a box).
Not only is this a super fun activity, but you may get some great photo opportunities too!
9. Have Designated Snuggle Time with Your Dog
All our dogs really want to do is love us. They want us to love them and they want to snuggle and be close to us.
Having a designated snuggle time with your fur-baby is a great way for you to unwind together or even a sweet way to start your morning. You know when your dog is giving you ‘those eyes’ at the end of a long day…it’s snuggle time. So snuggle up, wind down, relax, and enjoy the gift of having a dog.
10. Keep Your Dog Safe When You’re Not Home
Finally, the greatest way to show your dog how much you love them is to keep them safe when you’re not home. Sadly, dogs can get into things that can have devastating consequences if no one is home to help them.
7 Ways to Keep Your Pet Safe While You Aren’t Home
- Crate train them
- Keep them contained in one safe room
- Keep a tidy home to avoid excess stuff for them to eat or choke on
- Be sure not to leave packaging—especially chip bags (which dogs can suffocate from if their head gets stuck in the bag while trying to eat the chips)— anywhere they can reach them
- Consider using an in-home camera with an app that allows you to check in on them and even talk to them
- If you work long days consider having a dog walker come to take them out during the day
- Have a dog walker, friend, or family member as an emergency contact to help with your pet in case of an emergency
If you’re looking for a pet-friendly apartment in D.C. contact Daro Apartments to see our available rentals or to learn more about our pet-friendly community. Service animals are welcome at all of our Daro Apartments