Your dog needs a safe, comfortable, and happy environment to thrive. Being in the right environment will not only make them happier but also improve their health. The following are a few tips to build a happy environment for your dog.
01. Watch Out For Possible Dangers
Look out for potential hazards in your home. Most dogs are inquisitive and they are likely to put themselves in dangerous situations when unsupervised. Your dog’s environment should be safe. They should be able to go exploring without getting hurt. Here is a room-by-room guide to dog-proof your home.
- The Kitchen
Keep toxic foods away from your dog’s environment. Chocolate, coffee, garlic, onions, macadamia nuts, and grapes are some of the foods that your dog should not be able to access. It is also important to watch out for fires, sharp knives, and small items that can be swallowed. Consider having a door to keep your dog away from the kitchen especially when you are cooking.
- Gathering Areas
Keep children’s toys and dangling toys out of reach. Ensure that all air vents are covered and beware of flames from the fireplace. Generally, there are few dangers in gathering areas.
- Laundry Rooms and Bathrooms
Obvious hazards for your dog include bleach, medication, dental floss, fabric softeners, and cleansers. Dogs may try to chew on towels, socks, and stray pieces of clothing. Swallowing any of these items may cause severe gastrointestinal issues. Filled tubs are a drowning hazard especially for smaller dogs.
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- Swimming Pools
While some dogs are natural swimmers, others may need some help. Aquatic skills vary depending on breed. Some dogs swim right away, others have to learn, and others will never swim. If your dog is not comfortable in water, supervise them around pools and ensure that there is an exit strategy in case they accidentally fall into the water. If they enjoy swimming, some of the best dog experts recommend getting them a dog swimming pool. It is great for exercise and may be a good way to keep them from your pool. Other hazards at home include poisonous plants, garden chemicals, and open windows.
02. Maintain Healthy Temperatures
The temperature in your dog’s environment needs to be just right. Living in cold or damp conditions is bad for their health and may affect the quality of life. For dogs that live outside, there should be sufficient protection from weather elements. Several factors may determine the perfect temperatures for your pets. They include:
- Coat Type
If your dog has a thick and long coat, it can tolerate lower temperatures than dogs with thinner coats. However, this also means it can overheat fast.
Bigger and heavier dogs get hotter than small ones as they have a higher body fat percentage. They also maintain warmth in cold conditions. Smaller dogs get cold easily and can maintain cool temperatures when it is hot.
Temperature preference may depend on breed. Dogs of a similar size and weight may prefer different temperatures depending on their breed. The preference is influenced by both genetic and physical traits.
- Age and General Health
Young and elderly dogs may have trouble maintaining their body temperatures. They may need warmer environments to remain comfortable.
Once you understand the ideal temperatures for your dog, come up with ways to maintain it at all times. You can maintain the right temperatures by following these tips:
Use a Programmable Thermostat
This is one of the best ways to maintain ideal temperatures for your dog without spending too much on energy bills.
Look Out for Hypothermia
Watch out for the signs of hypothermia in your dog. They include lethargy, slow breathing, muscle stiffness, and shivering.
Don’t Leave Them In Your Car
Do not leave your dog in a parked car even for a few minutes. If it is warm outside, the temperatures in your car can become dangerous.
Watch Out for Heat Stroke
Look out for signs like glazed eyes, heavy panting, lack of coordination, vomiting, seizures, and dizziness. They may be indications of a heat stroke. Younger dogs are at a higher risk of heat strokes. If you notice the signs, see a vet as soon as possible.
03. Clean Their Sleeping Area
Keep your dog’s sleeping area clean at all times. Providing your dog with a comfortable bed is great but it is not enough. It has to be clean at all times. Even though you may let your dog sleep on your bed or on your couch, they should have a bed. Cleaning your dog’s bed needs to go beyond surface cleaning. Deep clean to get rid of germs and flea larvae in the bedding. Without proper cleaning, they may cause diseases.
Most doggy beds have removable covers. They keep stains away from your actual bedding. Find the washing instructions on their tags. If the cover cannot be machine-washed, you need to clean it by hand. Rinse it thoroughly and dry in an airy environment.
If your cover is not removable, use a vacuum to get rid of loose dirt and dog hairs especially in tight spaces. Pay attention to the seams, bottom, and padding as they hold more dirt. Brush the bed often to loosen dirt for easier vacuuming.
Soak the bed in warm soapy water once in a while. It does not only get rid of dirt but also kills bacteria. The strength of your soap solution depends on the state of the bed. Ensure that the bed is completely submerged in water and soak it for a minimum of ten minutes. Change the water if it gets dirty and soak for five more minutes. Rinse it with clean water, wring, and dry under the sun.
Sprinkle some baking soda over the bed and sleeping area and protect the bedding with a waterproof cover. Clean the dog frequently and ensure that their paws are clean after playing outside.
04. Create a Playing Area
As you may have realized as a dog owner, a bored dog can be difficult to handle. The secret to having a well-behaved dog is offering them both mental and physical stimulation. If you do not entertain them, they will find a way to stay busy. Your dog needs a playing area, not only to be happy, but also to stay fit. Playtime reduces anxiety and may be a chance for you to bond with them. Dogs are always looking for the chance to let loose and they should have space and chance to do it in your home. They should get at least 30 minutes of physical activity for maximum benefits.
If you do not have enough space outside, you can create an indoor play area. They can have fun even when you aren’t there. Design the playroom with toys that make it possible to play even when you aren’t home. Pick a variety of toys including balls and tugs.
Choose dog-friendly flooring to keep them safe. Since your dog will be jumping and playing around, the floor should not be slippery. It may be wise to use area mats to avoid injuries.
The playroom and environment should be engaging. If your dog gets anxious, consider having a radio or TV in their play area. There are lots of shows and music designed to entertain dogs.
After hours of playing, your dog will probably be tired. They need a comfortable bed to rest. Keep a water bowl in the room as well to ensure that your dog remains hydrated. With some room and creativity, your dog will never be bored.
05. Provide Companionship
Your dog needs some companionship to be happy. They get lonely especially if they spend most of their time at home. A lonely dog is much like a lonely human-aggressive and depressed. They can overeat and sleep which leads to obesity and other health issues. The signs of separation anxiety are salivating, inappropriate urination or defecation, pacing, and scratching. The following tips may help your dog feel better:
- Encourage Them to Look Outside
Dogs are curious and visual creatures. They enjoy looking at other animals and the general environment. If you cannot go out for a walk, let them look out the window.
- Get Them a Sibling
Getting a sibling for your dog will offer them companionship and improve their general health. Consider involving your pet in the adoption process. Do not assume that they will automatically love the sibling you find them.
- Keep Them Occupied
Your dog should have enough toys to keep them distracted. Take note of their favorite balls, blankets, or toys and make them accessible even when you aren’t around. Teach them that you leaving them for some time does not need to be a negative experience. If your dog is comfortable being away from you, they are unlikely to get bored.
- Comforting Music
Put the TV on or play music to distract and comfort your dog. Keep the volume reasonable and pick music that they enjoy. Most dogs enjoy the sound of people talking and other dogs barking.
- Spend Time With Them
Spend as much time with your dog as you can. Going home on your lunch break may be a good day. It breaks the day up and may give you a few minutes to bond.
Consider socialization if your dog needs it. This includes anything from spending some time at the park to set up playdates. It keeps them entertained and may help prepare them for a sibling.
06. Get a Doggie Door
Consider using an electronic or magnetic doggie door. It will keep intruders out and small children in. Such doors work with the collar of your pet. They lock and unlock as your pet gets close to the door. Even though they are slightly more expensive than traditional doggy doors, they are worth the cost. The doors ensure that your dog can get in and out of your house with ease. The choice of playing out in your garden or enjoying indoor comforts can make them happy.
07. Provide Easy Access to Food and Water
Give your dog easy access to food and water. A dog should eat not less than two meals every day, an average of 12 hours apart. Puppies should eat three to four meals a day for consistent energy levels. Do not overfeed them as they are likely to grow into overweight dogs.
Having a schedule is important to ensure that you aren’t underfeeding or overfeeding them. If you wait more than 12 hours between meals, the stomach gets hyper acidic and your dog may get nauseous.
A predictable feeding schedule can make your dogs easier to train. Most puppies relieve themselves about 15 minutes after a meal. You can link meals and potty stops to predict when your dog needs to go.
With a feeding routine, you may have an easier time changing your dog’s food. When their body has been conditioned to eat at specific times, your dog will expect to eat at that time every day.
If you notice any changes in their eating habits, they may be indications of illness. Dogs that stick to an eating routine build strong habits. If they fail to eat or eat less than normal, something may be wrong.
If your dog has special medical or dietary needs, your vet may help you determine how often you need to feed them. They may suggest the best food and feeding time.
Different dogs have different amounts of water but it should always be available. On average, your dog needs one ounce of fluid per pound. If, for example, your dog weighs ten pounds, it needs a little more than a cup of water every day. It may need more of it to be very active or lactating.
08. Provide Comfort
If you keep your dog in a kennel, check on it often. Avoid tethering it for a long time and offer lots of opportunities to run free. They should be able to move comfortably in their environment. If your dog shows any signs of distress, address it as soon as possible.
In conclusion, creating a happy environment for your dog does not need to be difficult. Simply pay attention to their comfort, safety, and health. Most dogs are easy to please and a little effort goes a long way.