Tips to Keeping Your
Emotional Support Dog Healthy
By Jade C. Pulman
Dogs truly are human’s best friends. Emotional support dogs play a critical role in managing anxiety and coping with day-to-day tasks that can overwhelm us. With our dogs providing so much invaluable comfort, we want to do all we can to offer them the best life in return. How do you keep your emotional support dog happy and healthy? Follow these tips to offer your furry companion the best life possible. After all, they deserve it!
1. Feed your dog a nutritious diet.
The number one step in canine care is a healthy diet. Emotional support dogs often travel everywhere with their companions, and in order to always be alert and ready to offer love and support, it’s essential that they are fueled by the right foods. Did you know that an overwhelming amount of dog food on the market is actually filled with dead and diseased animal products? Unfortunately a product being on the market doesn’t guarantee its safety.
Luckily there are online guides that you can use to determine if your dog’s food is meeting nutrition standards. Think of it this way, you wouldn’t feed your children exclusively sugar and then expect them to perform at their peak. One of the best foods on the market that provides balanced nutrition for canines is Nature’s Blend dog food. Foods such as this provide only premium ingredients and omit any harmful or non-beneficial fillers and additives.
2. Make sure your dog gets plenty of exercise.
You can’t expect your dog to be calm and well-behaved at all times if you do not provide enough exercise time. Walks, hikes, fetch, sniffing, chasing, and games all provide a variety of new sensory stimulators that will keep your dog energized and happy. Be sure to take your dog on new routes and allow your canine plenty of opportunities to explore new scents. Diet and exercise go hand in hand in keeping your canine healthy and in good spirits.
At the same time, it’s important to allow your dog enough time to rest. Your dog won’t be able to tell you when he or she is tired, so work on picking up on behavioral cues. Of course, we want to give our furry friends plenty of time to run around, but there is a thing as too much exercise. Be sure not to push your dog past the limit and allow for down time and relaxation.
3. Provide mental stimulation for your canine.
This important step can often be forgotten by new pet parents. Just as we enjoy reading and problem solving, our furry friends enjoy using their brain power. This kind of mental exercise is essential to maintaining a happy and healthy dog. At the end of a long day, us humans enjoy unwinding with a hot bath or maybe a glass of wine. Your dog should have the chance to unwind in his or her own way.
In order to allow your dogs the opportunity to rest their minds, keep their brains active during the day. Kongs, puzzle games, treat dispensing toys, buster cubes, and coming up with creative ways to feed your dog all provide different opportunities for your dog to think. Instead of allowing your dog to wolf down food in one sitting, put food in muffin tins or scatter it around the floor to offer your dog the chance to work his or her brain in order to find the pieces.
4. Be sure to take proper medical care of your dog.
Humans require check-ups, and dogs should have the same degree of wellness maintenance. Taking care of your dog includes annual visits to the vet, including shots and any upkeep. It means providing flea guard and heartworm medication, and any other necessary shots, vitamins, and boosters. It’s also key to practice good dental hygiene for your dog. Dental disease can carve away at your pet’s life expectancy, so be sure to brush your dog’s teeth and purchase the best items that will support dog dental hygiene.
Additionally, taking care of your emotional support animal includes spaying and neutering your pet. This is one of the easiest ways to keep your animal’s health in check, since neutered dogs tend to have longer life expectancies.
5. Be there for your dog.
Yes, your emotional support animal is supposed to be there for you. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also be there for your dog. Treat your animal with love and patience. Instead of expecting your animal to know everything, make sure that your dog gets the proper training. Dogs and humans learn in completely different ways, so take the time to research how your dog thinks in order to learn effective communication.
Be sure to play with your dog on a daily basis and offer companionship. Whatever your emotional needs are, forging a strong relationship with your canine companion will be sure to alleviate anxiety and lead to both a happy human and a happy dog. Cherish the bond with your canine! It’s one of the purest forms of love on the planet.
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