Dogs are no different to humans in as much as they require certain conditions in order to be mentally and physically healthy. Aside from a healthy diet, ample exercise and a safe place to rest his head, your dog also needs to feel that he is part of the family. Dogs are pack animals and as far as your pet is concerned, your family is his pack, and he will do whatever he can to protect you should the need arise. If you are at all concerned that your dog is lacking in anything, here are the basic needs of a family dog.
- Adequate Exercise – How much exercise a dog needs very much depends on his breed and age. Larger breeds tend to need more exercise than the smaller ones, which is something you need to consider carefully when choosing a dog as a family pet. Dogs that do not get enough exercise can become aggressive and disobedient, which might include tearing up shoes and newspapers, so make sure that he gets to go out at least twice a day.
- Healthy Diet – This is essential and is usually a combination of a meat-based meal with dry biscuits as a supplement. While it is OK to feed him your leftovers now and then, this should not be the basis of his diet. There are some human foods which should never be given to dogs, which include chocolate, garlic, onions and large amounts of dairy produce, while too much salt can cause seizures in a dog. If you are unsure about your dog’s diet, talk to your local vet, who can recommend the right foods to give him a balanced diet. It makes sense to take out some pet insurance, which will help with treatment costs and in the event of an emergency, your pet will receive the best treatment and it won’t eat away your savings.
- Dog Phobias – How do you deal with a phobia in dogs? There are a few things that can upset a dog, which include fireworks and thunderstorms, and it is really down to the individual dog as to how they react. Don’t let your dog go out if there’s a storm brewing, as he might just run away, and like people, dogs can easily get lost. Keep him indoors if there are fireworks used nearby, and being in the presence of the family should have a calming effect.
- Mental Stimulation – Dogs need to go out regularly, and those doggie walks are not just about physical exercise, as he sees and smells new things, while also being in a changing environment. Playing games with your dog really does stimulate him, and learning new things will keep him challenged mentally.
- Be Consistent – How your dog behaves depends on how you interact with him, and if you are consistent, he will soon learn what he can and cannot do. They say you can’t teach old dogs new tricks, but actually an old dog will respond to mental stimulation and new things, though he might be a bit slower to pick things up.
By taking all of the above into account, your dog should be fit, healthy and well balanced and with lots of affection, he will feel like he really is part of the family.