3 Ways to Keep your Dog Happy and Healthy in the New Year

Dog and owner keeping fitDog owners tend to feel happier and healthier with their pet pooches around – why wouldn’t we with the endless walks in the fresh air, making fun out of a game of fetch and the belly rubbing evening rituals (for the dogs, obviously!)

Our four-legged friends help us feel more optimistic and less stressed, but how can we ensure our pets are just as happy, healthy and feel as much love from us as we do them?

Here’s 3 tips to help keep your dog happy and healthy this year:

1. A Balanced Diet

If you’re not sure what to feed your dog then fear not as we’ve reviewed the best foods for dogs from complete kibble to wet/tinned to raw and bone fed (BARF).

Your dog’s age, weight and overall health will affect what you should feed them, for example puppies will need feeding more often than older dogs, and larger breeds will need a lot more food than your average terrier.  But no matter what size, age or breed your dog is, it’s important they receive key nutrients every day.

-       Wet food is a hit with our furry friends as it’s often found to be tastier particularly in dogs with low jaw strength and sensitive stomachs.  Wet foods generally have a higher meat and moisture content which helps keep dogs hydrated, but it can be expensive and some cheaper products aren’t always as nutritional as they could be.

-       Dry dog food, otherwise known as kibble, is a great food type for most dogs.  It comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and flavours and is a little more friendly to your budget.  It does however contain lower quantities of meat and less water content than wet food, and it’s worth noting there is a different between complete dry food which is served on its own, and mixer kibble which should be served alongside another food such as a small portion of wet food.

-       Raw foods are increasing in popularity and considered to be a more natural choice for dogs.  Raw foods can be bought at pet stores (Rooke’s included) or made at home (but your Vet may recommend store-bought raw foods as they’re usually specifically made to contain the right nutrients based on the needs of your dog.

2. Staying Active 

The breeding of your dog will have a considerable influence on the frequency and intensity of exercise they need, for example golden retrievers are more physically active and tend to enjoy longer walks where smaller dogs like pugs and chihuahuas aren’t built for speed and might benefit from a slower-paced and shorter walk. Greyhounds on the other hand love short and fast bursts of exercise.  Regular walks will keep your dog active and occupied, preventing boredom and outbursts of poor behaviour.

Dogs also love to play!  Showing them attention and interacting with soft play toys encourages positive behaviour.  If you’re out of the house a lot, it might be worth investing in a dog walker or pet sitter so they get an extra bit of love and attention.

3. Routine, Routine, Routine 

Like us, dogs benefit from a routine; set feeding, walking and sleep times provide structure, helping prevent feelings of boredom and laziness.

Rooke’s recommends letting your dog out first thing in the morning for a leg stretch, then giving them their breakfast before taking them out for a walk before work or school.  In the evening take them for another walk if you can and then let them relax with you.

Your faithful friends are just like you in that they need good food, exercise and a routine to keep them happy and healthy. Remember to keep their water bowls topped up too – their hydration is just as important as yours.