We all want the best for our furry companions, and that begins at home. Dogs need structure, good food and a great space to stay safe and play. Investing the time and energy to create a healthy home for your dog can help her live her best life and help you keep her away from the vet.
Here are four tips to create the perfect home for your dog.
1. Feed Them Healthy Food
Dogs are like humans in that they need a healthy diet. That can mean keeping them on a restricted-calorie diet to keep their weight down or focusing on the quality of your dog’s food. For example, avoid generic meat byproducts, sugar, and other fillers that can hurt your dog. Make sure especially to avoid feeding or letting your dog eat any human foods that are toxic for dogs, like grapes and raw meat or raw eggs.
One solution is to make your dog’s food yourself. While it sounds intimidating, the hardest part is finding a good recipe. Pay attention to the nutrients in the recipes you find and monitor your dog for two weeks to see if she gained or lost weight. Once you nail down the right combination of nutrients, your dog will love the homemade meals you serve.
2. Plan Plenty of Bathroom Breaks
It can prove challenging to find the time to take your dog out to use the bathroom when you work, especially if you have a job with long hours. Your dog will need to go out a few times every day. You may even find that she has specific tell-tale signs that it's time to go, such as barking or running toward the door.
If you can’t make it home to your pooch, try paying a dog walker or a friend to let your dog out for a short walk and a much-needed bathroom break. There are even portable potty trainers with grass made especially for your dog. Just set it up somewhere in the house if you can't make it home, so your dog has a designated place to go.
3. Keep Them Safe Outside
Odds are, your dog has some green space to visit while at home. The outdoors may be a dog's kingdom, but there may also be hidden dangers you haven’t considered. For example, your dog's nose and ears can actually get sunburned. Try using a little Coppertone sunscreen that's SPF 15 or higher. Give your dog a treat (so she doesn’t lick the sunscreen off) and the sun will be no match for your adventurous friend.
Some dogs—especially puppies—can dig up your backyard or any other open space. Try to discourage these bad habits by using simple ingredients from your home. Mix up tabasco pepper sauce, cayenne pepper and water in a spray bottle and spray it all over the spots where your dog is digging. The spiciness should stop your dog from tearing up your yard.
4. Make Sure to Groom Them
If you have an exceptionally fluffy dog, you'll want to keep her happy with regular grooming. Plus, it will help keep your home clean and eliminate excess shedding. Try to get your dog’s hair cut every six to eight weeks. Between those times, you can wash and brush your dog’s hair to stop the fur from jumping ship onto your furniture.
However, grooming doesn't only include your dog's fur—remember to cut her nails, too, so they don't scratch you, the furniture, or other people. A dog’s teeth also need to be brushed just like a human's! When you go to brush your teeth at night, take a minute or two to also take care of your dog's teeth, so you can prevent cavities and other gum issues.
Keep Them Healthy by Loving Them
The most important thing is interacting with your dog each day. Set aside time to play, go for walks and hang out together. Your dog will stay healthy and happy when you show that you love her just as much as she loves you.