Being concerned for your pet’s health is normal, wanting them to eat better or be more active, these are the basic principles of pet owner responsibility, but how do we do it the right way? There are plenty of strategies, rules as such, or even templates you could follow to improve your dog’s quality of life. But the one factor that makes a significant impact and which causes a domino effect on the rest is nutrition.
You could walk your dog for hours up the mountain every week, give them the most expensive food products you can find at the supermarket, but if it isn’t quality ingredients you are not only wasting your money but your time. And your dog is no better for it.
Make change happen.
What you need to do first off is to make sure you understand your dog’s breed, their dietary requirements, and preferences, and take into account what your pup takes a liking to when it comes to dinner time.
Take for example the gorgeous, award-winning breed known as the Lhasa Apso, you may have seen this dog around but perhaps never knew its name. This interesting name is derived from Tibet, Lhasa being the capital, and was originally used indoors as a guard dog.
But what makes it unique is the fact that it is one of the most adaptable dogs for families and apartment living and a top option for new pet owners. It enjoys a tumble with the kids believe it or not – yes even with all that hair – and has a good level of physical endurance so you don’t need to worry that you are over-exerting it with exercise.
With this heart-warming personality, it can be too easy to fall into the trap of constant treats and snacks, and if not monitored or ideally prevented, it could lead to obesity. See an interesting article on it here https://www.akc.org/expert-advice/nutrition/obesity-in-dogs-a-major-health-threat-hiding-in-plain-sight/ and how it is a more common occurrence than we may realize. And yes a chubby dog is cute and fun to cuddle but the health risks, like with all animals and people alike, are high.
A cute puppy can still be a healthy one, with regular vet check-ups, and a well-planned and thought-out diet your dog can live for many years making memories and sometimes a mess around the house. Win-win.
Gradual or immediate.
You have decided that the time to change your pup’s diet is now and after much research and hours spent browsing the internet reading blogs, watching vlogs, and scanning articles from every dog care magazine, you want to get started.
But, after chatting to family and friends and getting mixed opinions and advice, you aren’t sure whether to make a complete change and jump into the organic and all-natural ingredients world with both feet, or step in one foot at a time and make a gradual change. Based on personal experience you opt for the latter, after all, it will take effort on your part too.
Moving too quickly from one food to the other could cause an upset stomach, the drastic change in texture and consistency will disrupt their digestion.
Swapping out ingredients in their meals with similar food items or healthier versions will help your dog understand that there is a change happening, they may not know why, but piquing their curiosity could keep them interested in the dinner as opposed to refusing to eat.
Based on how well they take to the new ingredient you can add more and more and eventually have a completely natural and organic menu in place. To help get you started with tried and tested products that have proven highly successful, companies that offer advice such as the Holistapet dog guide will make your journey that much easier. Happy pup, happy owner.
Keeping them active.
Now that you have an established food routine and your dog seems happy and content with the new ingredients, even though he is unaware of how his health is improving both physically and mentally, you can turn your focus towards a regular exercise program (of a sort).
While the Lhasa Apso is not a run-on-the-beach for hours type of breed, or trot along with you while you do your hour-long jog in the morning, it does need some form of fitness. It can be for about 20-40 minutes worth of physical exertion, but nothing too excessive. Doing this daily will keep the heart rate up and functioning normally, but be aware that due to their stubborn nature at times training may need extra patience, praise, and time.
Let’s take a look at some quick ways, whilst adding in variety, of getting your pup to exert that built-up energy.
- Fetch. A classic, no-fail method that gets the job done right. A few throws and bursts of energy will have your pup wanting for more, and if they are up for it keep going.
- Tug of war. This is great for jaw strength and muscle exertion, for both of you, but make sure you choose an appropriate toy that won’t fall apart in their mouth or damage their teeth.
See this link for tips on choosing the right toy according to breed, type, and personality.
- Agility. This is a great way to incorporate training exercises with agility courses getting them used to obstacles and hurdles.
There is something for every dog, and with time you will find what works for your pet and you, because a dog is not just an animal, it’s family.