With pandemic restrictions opening up, more people going back to the office and the increase in pet ownership, many dog owners are wondering how best to help with their dog’s health. They have less space in their schedule for exercise, mental health breaks, preparing healthy meals and keeping a clean diet. So how can dog owners improve their dog’s life with little time left? Here are some easy habits and things to do to get your dog in their best health, while still having little time for yourself!
There are so many options when it comes to feeding your dog. It can be difficult to decide what is best. Traditional highly processed foods are not good for overall long lasting health. Research is showing more and more that fresh food is best. Fresh cooked meals for dogs contain no added preservatives, do not process the whole foods, and are easy to store in your freezer.
Meal delivery dog food companies such as Kabo, have several recipes made from wholesome proteins, grains and vegetables to make up a balanced diet for dogs. Dog food delivery is the easiest way to save time and money, while alleviating worry about your dog getting the best nutrition. There are no extra groceries to buy, no extra time needed to cook and no wasted food.
There are beneficial bacteria and harmful bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract of all mammals. The collective population of these bacteria is called the gut microbiome . It is the good bacteria that help benefit digestive health. These good bacteria create an ideal environment for food to be broken down appropriately For example, the right amount of stomach acid at the right pH will be present. This will allow nutrients to be broken down and absorbed properly. Shortly afterwards this will lead to well balanced blood sugar. Moreover, studies have shown that the beneficial bacteria produce proteins that help in other areas of the body.
Excellent digestive health has been proven to help in immune health, balanced neurological functioning and mood stabilization. This translates into a dog with a powerful immune system, resulting in less disease onset. This also means a behaviourally good dog with very few issues to manage.
What does this mean to the owner? A dog that is not going to the vet, not on special diets, no costly medications, no extra behavioral classes and no more destroyed shoes or furniture!!
When it comes to giving our pup treats, balance is the key. A simple thing to remember is ‘not too many’ and ‘use discretion’. If you can, just roughly take away the same number of calories of treats from one of your dog’s meals that day. It doesn't have to be super accurate, unless you have a dog that needs to lose weight. Bones are a good treat depending on the source, but it is good to find information on the right size of bone to give your dog. Bones can be a good distraction while you are trying to get things done at home, just be sure to check on them once in a while to ensure they are not swallowing any pieces and watch out for aggressive chewing that could lead to tooth fractures.
Water is so important for health for so many reasons. Some dogs know when to drink enough, while others can seem less interested in drinking. Being properly hydrated can make a dog feel satiated and not want to overeat.
If your dog is not a big water bowl fan and seems to bug you for treats while you are busy, try giving them an ice cube. The crunch of it is satisfying to them and simultaneously gives some hydration. Especially in the warmer months or if you live in a warm climate. Adding a bit of bone broth to a bowl of water can entice some dogs to finish the whole bowl of water! Also, soaking kibble in water and/or feeding your dog fresh food, are also simple ways to keep your dog well hydrated.
This is one area that is difficult for many dog owners who are time strapped. Although going for two good walks a day is what most pups need, the hours go by fast. One way to help is to know that the walks can be replaced with a session of fetch. That can be in the house, down the hallway or even up and down the stairs.
You can split the time up as well. For example, if you are cooking, play fetch while waiting for the water to boil, then again while the food is simmering, and a few more minutes while the food cools before plating. Get creative with your time. There are always minutes to sneak in running and fetch at the same time as getting some home duties done.
Most pups need a level of mental stimulation to keep their mental health balanced. Not enough of it can lead to destructive behavior like chewing furniture, destroying shoes or clothes and even inappropriate pooping and urination. Today there are many options for your dog to play alone, quietly, with minimal interaction, for those times that you need to focus on things or leave your pooch for a few hours. Safe rubber chew toys, bully sticks, are some ideas. Also there are many puzzle toys that require your dog to ‘work’ for the treats you can put inside them. Good ones dispense small amounts and are washable. Some dogs even need their meals fed this way! Experiment with your dog to find out what mental stimulation methods work best. The great thing about this is that it comes around back to you - having a mentally healthy dog does wonders for your mental health as well!!
Understanding that fresh food is best for dogs and hydration is important are good foundations for healthy dogs. Next to that is keeping them physically and mentally fit to ensure optimal behaviour and having a having a happy dog. With the above tips, you can incorporate small changes in your routine that save you time and also give you the peace of mind that your dog is living their best life!