At my house, National Dog Day (August 26) happens every day. The celebration offers a wonderful opportunity to walk a mile in your dog’s paws. Ever wonder how to make a dog happy? What dogs want can differ a bit from what dogs need. While it’s a given that dog lovers treat canine companions with compassion every day of the year, during this special celebration, taking stock of what your dog wants out of life can offer insight to keep his tail wagging all year long. The past couple of posts celebrated cats, so equal time for the dogs.
WHAT DOGS NEED ON NATIONAL DOG DAY
Our dogs want to be part of a family. That includes the humans in the household, but your dog may also count the other dogs, cats, rabbits or other animal friends as part of his extended family group. Learn about proper introductions here.
It’s not quantity, but quality of companionship. One human can be enough, by spending time with the dog and providing what he or she wants. That might be belly rubs, or trick training, or just sweet lap sitting time.
Your dog might change that word to “treats.” Depending on the dog, some may live to eat and try to gulp anything that doesn’t move faster than they do (can you say Beagle and Labrador?). All dogs require balanced nutrition to stay healthy, and special treats offer value added to a canine’s day. Consult with your dog’s veterinary caretaker to help choose the best nutritional options for your dog. Certainly be kind to Fido with healthy treats, too. Common sense yummies make the best bonuses, too, if they’re not offered every single day. That makes that bit of bacon or cheese even more of a kind gesture, and keeps him from packing on the table muscle and risking his health. For pets that gobble too much, learn more here.
Rough-and-tumble canines may try to convince you they prefer staying out in the ice and snow (northern breeds come to mind!), or want to puddle jump in a rainstorm. Protection from the weather goes beyond a fur coat, and is especially important for very young, very old or health-challenged dogs. It also extends to keeping dogs safe from outside threats by providing fenced yards, following leash laws, offering shady spots from burning sun, or warm houses out of the wet and ice that could injure or even kill him.
Dogs may love the vet—or fear the visits—but all dogs need and want to stay healthy. Good health fuels their day, provides energy for play and exploration, interactions with their humans and furry family members, and everything else that makes life worth living. Preventive veterinary care extends not only the years you share love but also the quality of the life you share. Learn more about why vets take pets to the back.
Shadow-Pup adores playing games, and a favorite includes tug toys. Play not only helps keep dogs healthy, it contributes to the dog’s emotional health. Fun training games also stimulate the brain to keep active dogs focused on positives instead of dismantling furniture or terrorizing the cat. Yes, sometimes Karma-Kat instigates the tag games! Learn more about dog play in this fun post.
Fear Free Life
Fear cripples and quashes the joy from the human-animal relationship. Dogs are experts and finding joy in everyday experiences—from tracking a bug or wrestling with littermates, to clowning to prompt a beloved human’s smile. Every dog (and pet parent) deserves a fear free home, to allow relationships to blossom and happiness to fuel the wags. That’s the kindest gift we can give our dogs!
Your turn! What do your dogs want and need out of life, and how do you provide it? Please share in the comments. *s*
Special thanks to Tabitha Brown Collections from TARGET for the new tug toys, bed, and decorator items to celebrate National Dog Day. Shadow and Karma fell in love with their gifts and insisted I share pictures.
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Amy Shojai, CABC is a certified cat & dog behavior consultant, a consultant to the pet industry, and the award-winning author of 35+ pet-centric books and Thrillers with Bite! Oh, and she loves bling!