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5 Best Practices For Loving Your Family Dog

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If you have a family pet, whether it’s a dog, cat, or even a fish, then you know how quickly a pet becomes a part of the family. My sweet Dutch Shepherd is like my child, and I’m shamefully wrapped around her finger and would do just about anything to make her happy. However, it’s not always easy keeping your pets happy - (especially if you have an energetic dog that needs lot’s of exercise!) If you’re trying to balance work, kids, and life in general with taking care of your pet, here are 5 tips and tricks to ensure your pet-child gets all the love he/she deserves.


  1. Start with teaching your children

The best way you can love your dog is by first teaching your children how to love your dog. This not only benefits the animal, but it benefits your child as well because they learn valuable life lessons on how to treat other creatures. Often times, children can’t distinguish the difference between animals and toys. My first recommendation to this, is getting rid of all stuffed animals. I know this sounds dramatic, but it’s extremely effective! When children are playing with stuffed animals, it’s easy for them to play with a real animal as well because kids are innocent and sometimes forget that they can be aggressive. The first step to loving your dog is by showing your children how to treat them with love, respect, and tenderness. It’s a win-win situation all around - the dogs receive gentle love, your kids learn how to give gentle love, and you save money by not buying stuffed animals. ;)

2. Exercise

Please, please heed my advice when I tell you your animal needs exercise! Now, this is more specifically for dogs, but really any animal needs to move their body and get outside to be happy. If you’ve ever heard of the term ‘use it or lose it’, keep in mind this is also accurate for your pet, and if they don’t move their body they will surely lose it! If your dog doesn’t get enough exercise, it can cause behavioral problems as well as physical issues such as arthritis or heart disease. Even if you’re unable to get your dog out on a big hike in the mountains, a simple walk around the neighborhood will ensure their happiness and healthy heart. Additionally, if for some reason you’re not able to get them out of the house, even playing with them is a great form of exercise. Check out this awesome ball that allows you to virtually play with your pets from anywhere!

3. Food

The foods we put in our bodies directly affects how we feel, so why would it be any different for animals? Would you feed your child food that makes them sick? No! So stop feeding your pets toxic food. It is extremely vital that you check ingredients when buying food. According to Pawster, here are a few items in dog food you want to avoid:

  • By-products

  • Cheap grains

  • Corn syrup

  • Artificial flavors/colors

  • Artificial preservatives

4. Training

Now, even if you don’t care if your dog is an elite protection dog or performer, it’s important to note that training is important for their own health. Pets that are given basic training tend to feel calmer and more stable, (and they go to the bathroom outside - obvious win!). Obedience training is also extremely important to ensure your dog's social skills. When training your dog, you want to be sure to expose them to all kinds of different people, including children. Make sure your dog knows how to interact with adults and children, as well as other animals.

5. Orthopedic Bed

Need birthday or Christmas gift ideas for your pet? (if you’re like me and spoil your pet to death). Get them an orthopedic bed for their little joints. It’s extremely common for dogs to eventually suffer from arthritis or hip dysplasia, but these beds help prevent this. An orthopedic bed helps displace your dog's weight which creates added support for their small joints and muscles. If your dog sleeps on your bed with you, I would recommend getting a memory foam mattress topper. This will have the same effect on your dog as the orthopedic bed would. I recently bought a memory foam mattress topper here, and my dog loves it.

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