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Pet Pampering

My Dog Magazine 2008
By Michele Kraft

Regular grooming, cleaning ears, and keeping your dog's nails in trim are a few non-negotiable facts of life for your dog. We know our little friends don't particularly enjoy it, but they'd be miserable if we didn't take care of these things for them. After they've been through these stressful events, what can we do to pamper our pets? While we might enjoy things we buy for our them, like rhinestone collars, nail polish or a new leash, it probably doesn't mean much to the average dog. Here are some very beneficial things all dogs enjoy:

Quality time and attention

Letting your dog know she's loved by sharing a one-on-one activity with her is the best thing you can do. Petting them while we're watching TV is one thing, but active play is another. It doesn't have to be a whole afternoon in the park, though that's certainly good for both of you too. A game of fetch in the living room is a nice, quick treat. Set a timer for five minutes and play your dog's favorite game- it will be a welcome break for you and your buddy. Having an upbeat sound in your voice while talking to your dog grows the bond between you, and you might be a bit surprised at the mood lift gives you too. Your dog may not be able to understand everything you're saying, but they do understand the love in your voice. Who doesn't?

Toys toys toys

Most dogs have a hidden (or not so hidden) prey drive, and a good way to satisfy this urge is with toys. Yes, they will destroy the toy, be ready for it, but wouldn't you rather that toy go down than your brand new shoes? Give them a toy they can maul their own. Taking out frustration or just extra energy on ripping up a toy keeps your dog's brain and imagination engaged. This is especially true for young dogs, and has nothing to do with aggression toward other dogs or people. Try a variety of textures and shapes, and see what really trips your dog's trigger. It's fun! Don't forget to make sure you're giving them safe toys designed for dogs.

Socialization

You know how you feel when you've been without some good conversation for too long. Give your dog the gift of friends. Find a playgroup, a friend, or even supervised romps at the dog park. This is especially vital for young dogs. How well your dog learns to get along with other dogs is shaped in the first two years of life. Don't miss the window and end up with a difficult, unsocialized dog!

A diet you both can live with

Food is such a basic building block that many people overlook the quality of life it provides for the dog. Poor diet can bring on skin conditions, lethargy and obesity. Even flatulence can often be cured by simply switching to a corn-free food. Compare ingredients. The extra you spend on chow is an important investment for your dogs' health. You know dinnertime is the best time of day- give them something quality to bark about!

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Copyright Michele Kraft, 2017

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