We’ve put together a list of twelve ways to make your dog happy and keep him or her that way. Making sure that your dog is physically and emotionally fit will go a long way toward having a happy pet. Dogs need care and affection to thrive. Here are some great tips for maintaining your pet’s health and happiness, and your dog will appreciate them all.

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12. Proper Collar, Leash and Bedding

Before you even adopt a dog, it’s important to be prepared for this new member of your family. All dogs need a good collar and leash for walks and training. Choose a collar that is the right size for your pet and made of leather, nylon or other sturdy fabric. The collar should ride high on your dog’s neck and be snug enough to fit two fingers underneath.

Your dog should have his own bed in one particular spot. That way, he knows he has a safe place to go that meets with your approval. It also enables you to train your pet to go to his spot upon command.

11. Supervision

Having a pet is like having a child in some ways. Just as you wouldn’t leave a child unattended, never leave your dog tied up out of view while you go into a store. Even though she may be the best-trained dog you’ve ever known, there are still circumstances that could make her slip the leash and bolt.

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You also want to be sure and supervise your pet around small children. In their excitement, they may not realize they are hurting or over-stimulating your dog. A normally placid animal can become aggressive if it’s in pain.

10. Travel and Boarding

Pay attention to your dog’s needs when you travel. Be sure to make regular pit stops at areas where pets are allowed. Make sure your dog drinks enough water to prevent dehydration. An hour or two before you leave on a trip, feel him lightly with his regular kibble since a full stomach might cause car sickness.

If you decide to board your dog while on a trip, be sure and do your homework before leaving him with a kennel. Make sure the boarded animals get enough exercise, food and companionship. A good kennel will let you inspect for cleanliness and will require all animals to be up-to-date with vaccinations.

9. Toys and Stimulation

Make sure your dog has appropriate toys to play with. They can fight boredom and comfort your pet when you’re not around. The Humane Society recommends toys made of very hard rubber instead of rawhide, for a variety of reasons. But if you do give your dog a rawhide chew toy, just check with the vet to make sure which kinds are preferable.

Dogs love it when their owners talk to them. Sure, they can’t understand a word you say, but they know you are giving them attention. Make a habit of scratching your pet behind the ears and saying a few words when you come in contact with each other. This is guaranteed to make your pet happy.

8. Comfort and Safety

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Your dog should feel comfortable and safe around all members of the family. Giving her a special place to hang out, taking care that she is warm or cool enough and paying attention to her anxiety levels are all healthy ways to ensure this. It’s also a good idea to inspect your home and remove any items that could hurt your dog if they are chewed or ingested.

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7. Socialization

Let your dog socialize with other humans and animals by taking him to the park or for play dates with other dogs. Exposing your pet to a variety of people and animals will help him be well-behaved around strangers.

If you have a guest in your home that doesn’t like dogs, by all means put your pet in another room. Not only will it aggravate your guest to be around your dog, but your pet will be able to sense that they are not welcome.

6. Vet Care

Take your dog for regular veterinarian check-ups, and be sure and take your dog to the vet if she’s off her feed or otherwise acting differently. All dogs need vaccinations, heartworm medication and other preventative health care. Having a pet is a responsibility, and finding a good vet will keep your dog happy and healthy.

5. Training

Be the boss with your dog – he’s a pack animal and expects you to lead. Your dog should be able to grasp your firm but reasonable expectations. Training your dog will actually make him happier because he knows what to expect. If there are any problems with training, a professional dog trainer can help. Contact your local Humane Society or your vet to find one.

4. Proper Diet

Choose the proper kibble for your dog’s size and breed with your vet’s recommendation. Although it makes your dog happy to get table scraps, it not only makes your pet into a nuisance but it’s unhealthy, too. Occasional treats are okay, but make sure they are suitable treats like dog biscuits. Sugar and chocolate are bad for dogs, and too much chocolate can even cause seizures.

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3. Grooming

Grooming your dog keeps his coat healthy, and it’s also a nice way to bond with your animal. While brushing his fur, check his ears for mites or discharge. Make sure that his collar is still fitting properly and that his eyes are clear. If necessary, clip his toenails with a special tool just for dogs. He will appreciate both the grooming and the attention.

2. Exercise

All dogs need exercise to be happy. Although your dog may be content to lie at your feet or in a patch of sun in front of the window, it’s not in her best interests to get out of shape. For a healthy pet inside and out, take your dog for regular walks and allow her to run free in secure areas.

1. Love Your Dog!

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Dogs are affectionate animals and, to a dog, the master is more than the head of the pack. It has been shown time and again that dogs experience love for their humans. Bringing a dog into your home is a commitment to be responsible for another life. Dogs have earned the title “man’s best friend” with their loyalty and unflagging affection. Treat your dog with respect and consideration and let your dog know that you love him back!


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