August 10 is National Spoil Your Dog Day. So how do you spoil your canine companion? Or do you pamper your pet too much?
Our dogs give us unconditional love, and never care that we have a bad hair day, forget to change our socks or brush our teeth—actually, they might like that! They greet us at the door like heroes bearing treasures and always offer a happy wag and eager smooch. Whether dogs snuggle to share our joy or pester us out of a blue mood with a game of fetch, they love us 24/7/365.
That’s one of the many reasons dog lovers consider them part of the family. It’s only natural for us to return the affection by spoiling dogs. Dog lovers don’t need a Spoil Your Dog holiday, either–we love them every day of the year. Here are some ways to return the furry favor for your dog.
Recently, I’ve received a boatload of emails with product suggestions for spoiling dogs with healthy fun. So check out some of the offerings–and in the comments, add suggestions of your own! Then share the blog far and wide to spread the puppy love!
How to Love Dogs
I welcomed the information that Hills Pet Nutrition shared with me. They conducted a survey between December 2nd, 2021, and December 6th, 2021, among 1,094 dog and cat owners 18 years of age and over, using an email invitation and an online survey. How does your experience compare with the results?
Overwhelmingly, respondents said treats equal love (Shadow-Pup agrees!). But other common “love languages” involved playing with the pet (83%), cuddling with them (82%), and talking with them (79%). Many pet parents use treats to connect emotionally with their animal companions, with 44% saying feeding treats shows how much they love their pets. And 16% give treats when they eat snacks, while 7% used treats as a distraction (“Go eat a treat while I ZOOM on a meeting, kitty.”)
Sound familiar? At our house, Shadow-Pup thinks he should get a treat each time Karma-Kat gets fed (and vice-versa). I use treats to train both of the fur-kids. And I’ll admit, sometimes we offer Shadow a longer-lasting chewy to distract him when we need to pay attention to business. We’re fortunate that all of our dogs have been athletes and never overweight (according to our vet). But extra treat-love raises the potential for putting on pudge so you need to find healthy ways to slim your dog or cat. Hills has launched an educational campaign to help end pet obesity–so our pets live longer, healthier lives.
How To Spoil Your Dog
Offer Puzzles. Spoiling dogs means “treating” our dogs in special ways, but we don’t want to “love them to death” by making them fat with too many calories. It doesn’t take much to treat dogs, especially when you offer pungent tidbits inside a puzzle dispenser. That encourages dogs to use their brains, too—yet another loving bonus.
Keep Teeth Clean. Some treats also keep those fangs clean and bright, too. Nothing says “love” more than keeping dogs’ teeth healthy, because it means more years together. February is National Pet Dental Health Month, and pets have many dental issues in common with people. Have you scheduled a dental check up yet for your furry wonders?
Boost Wags with Treats. Healthy treats in moderation really get tails wagging. The key, though, means you don’t overdo the yummies. A variety is available that do everything from keep teeth clean to aid creaky old dog arthritis (check with your vet for the best for your doggo). And if your table food is healthy, there’s nothing wrong with sharing a treat from your plate (Shadow made me write that!).
Give A Gift. Some dogs can’t get enough of toys, while others prefer treats or a game at the dog park. You know your dogs best, so indulge them with a new chew toy, stuffed animal, or a day at the park.
Schedule Love Time. In our busy lives, we often put off “extras” until later or offer less valuable substitutes, like tossing a treat when a dog asks for attention. While dogs love treats and toys, you can offer no greater love than sharing time with them. Every dog is different, so figure out what delights the tail wiggles in your canine friend (Frisbee? tug games? laptime or grooming?) and put it on your daily schedule.
Offer A Doggy Condo. A variety of kennels and crates come in various sizes and styles to fit your dog’s needs, as well as your decorating ideas–like the ecoFLEX crate, above. You can situate the crate in a back room, or in the middle of the action in the living area. A decorative throw rug placed over the top of wire crates turns them into stylish furniture accents while giving the dog some privacy. To make it extra special, why not add a special bowl inside the crate where you can leave treat “surprises” now and then to make the space even more welcoming. Start pups early to teach them the crate is a happy place.
Create A Napping Zone. Special beds sized to snuggle puppies or soothe arthritic old dog bones are available. These work extremely well to offer a welcoming space, especially on less than appealing hard floors. For the little dogs, you can set a dog bed on the end of a sofa or your own bed to get them out from underfoot and protect the upholstery or bedding. Adding a bed underneath a table works well, too, and creates a cave-like retreat that many dogs relish. Of course, our Shadow-Pup shares our pillow at night in the king-size bed.
Open (Or Close) A Door. Another great way to create a special place for your dog is to employ a “pet door” that opens into an enclosed porch, or even into an interior room designed with their needs in mind. Pet doors can be installed in existing solid or sliding glass doors so the dogs can come and go as they wish. Another option is to use a “pet gate” that installs in an open doorway or hall. That way an owner can control access to areas as requirements change. For instance, a pet gate can provide a barrier to a staircase so your dog’s sanctuary remains the downstairs area at bedtime.
What float’s your dog’s boat? How do you spoil your fur-kid? Please share!
For equal time, here’s a post about how to love your cat!
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