Top 5 gifts to help keep your dog healthy

Greenfeeder enrichment for dog feeding time

There is nothing more important than good health – and whilst we may indulge in Christmas pudding and turkey these are not the best ideas for our pet dogs. I’ve decided to put together this list of some of my favourite dog gifts that help improve their health whilst also being fun.

The Green Feeder

This is one of the first games I ever came across for dogs that made food time more healthy. Just like with humans if a dog gulps all its food down quickly it is not healthy – and in dogs there is some suggestion that this can also be a contributor to bloat. GET IT HERE

Buster Dog Cube

Buster Dog Treat Dispensor

Another way to slow down feeding – or just to make your dog more active in finding their food there are a set of these cubes which progress in difficulty. I was introduced to this when I won one at a vet conference and spent many weeks using it with the clinic dogs. GET IT HERE

Timed Treat Feeder

Foobler Electronic Timed Dog Treat ToyThis is perfect for if you are going be away from your dog for a while – whether that is a trip to the shops or for work. It allows you to set a timer on an interval to release different treats or just spread food through the day. It will make a noise when it releases a new treat to get your dogs attention and break up their time alone. GET IT HERE

Dog Magic Activity Toy

Nina Ottosson Dog Magic Activity ToysThere is an entire range of dog games by Nina Ottosson which vary in difficulty from easy to hard depending on how much experience your dog has with such toys. If your dog is just starting with these I would recommend starting with the easy level such as this and building up to the harder levels. GET IT HERE

Brain Games

Brain games for dogs by Claire ArrowsmithThis gift is not just for your dog but also for you. Dogs are amazingly intelligent and this book gives you many ideas to try with your dogs. Seeing just how smart your dog is can be one of the most rewarding ways you can spend time with them. GET IT HERE

Pets and Holidays: What to Do About Your Dog When You’re Away

dog-on-christmas-holiday-snow

As much as we love our dogs, there are times when we just can’t be around to take care of them. Be it a business trip or a surprise visit from in-laws, there are situations where we’ll have to be away from our loyal companions.

But many people are faced with the trouble of what to do when those situations arise. For some people, taking their dog on holiday with them is a natural thing and they’ll even choose destinations that their dog loves. It could be a beach where they can play in the sand and water or a cosy cottage where they can sleep and relax around a crackling fireplace.

If you’ve got an event coming up soon that will separate you and your companion, consider some of these tips on how to go about dealing with the problem.

Take Your Dog on Holiday With You

As long as you aren’t going too far away or on a plane, then you can take your dog with you no matter where you go. As long as you buy a suitable crate for your dog (or a strong leash if they’re big) then you can keep them in the car with you as you drive. Just make sure that someone is looking after them, or if you’re travelling alone then drive slowly. If you break suddenly, it could frighten your dog or worse, send them flying off the seat and hurling into something. If you’re travelling via coach or train, then make sure you inform the driver or rail service before taking your pet on board.

If you’re travelling via plane, then there are still options to take your dog with you. Owners would love if there was no hassle involved when travelling with their pets, but the truth is: there is a lot of preparation involved. You’ll have to buy a bag or crate to carry your dog, and you need to inform the airline when you purchase your ticket that you plan to take an animal on board. Don’t show up to the airport with your dog in a crate because they might deny you entry!

dogs-on-holiday-on-the-beachDoggy Daycare & Boarding

There are many services around the world such as http://www.auntbspetresort.com that specialise in looking after your pets with the utmost love and care. Whether you have a small dog or a large canine, they’ll most likely be able to offer you a service that is tailored towards your needs. Does your dog have certain hobbies or dietary requirements? Not a problem, the daycare service will handle it for you. Will you be separated from your companion for a week? Again, that’s no problem because many daycare centres will be equipped with long-term services as well.

It’s an inexpensive method of keeping your pet occupied and looked after while you’re away, and you can have peace of mind knowing that your dog is in good hands and being cared for.

Asking a Friend or Family Member

If you take regular trips away from your dog, then it might be worth making friends with the neighbours or bringing your companion to a family member’s home. As long as you leave your dog in safe hands with the same person or family each time, your dog will grow used to their scent and voice and listen to them.

Making It Through Winter: Occupying Your Dog Until Spring

training-your-puppy

People may say they find it difficult to keep their kids occupied and busy all the way through winter, but it’s even harder when you’ve got a dog! Energetic and playful, many dogs tend to need a lot of exercise and stimulation so they don’t make your life hell. Here are some tips on how to keep them busy through winter when you can’t take them out quite as much…

Training

Even if you think you’ve already trained your dog, chances are that only means that they’re housebroken, that they can walk nicely on a leash, and that they sit on command. If you have enough space in your home then you can practise any tricks there. You could teach your dog how to give high fives, how to roll over and how to play dead. Honestly, staying inside in the winter is pretty boring for all of us, not just dogs – teaching them tricks is a great way for you to have some winter fun too! Invest in some toys from http://indestructibledogtoys.org/ as a reward for great behaviour.

Keep Your Dog Warm

keeping-a-puppy-warm

It’s a good idea to invest in a coat for your dog, particularly if she’s small. During the coldest weather, you could also get her to wear boots – touch the ground and imagine how you’d feel if you had to walk barefoot on snow and ice! The pads on dogs’ feet are very sensitive so you need to make sure that you protect them. When you get home from walks, make sure that your dog’s feet are dry and that you give her ample time to warm up. You should also make sure that your dog’s sleeping environment is as cozy as possible. Even if she’s an outside dog, put fleecy blankets and a heater inside the kennel, and make sure it’s insulated well.

Feed Your Dog Well

feeding-a-dog-for-the-snow

Your dog may gain a little weight over winter, because he needs to cultivate an extra layer of fat to keep warm while it’s cold out. First of all, yes, you could also use this an excellent excuse as to why you’ve piled on a few pounds over the festive season – and second of all, it’s okay to feed your dog a little more over the winter, although you should make sure that you aren’t overfeeding him. Make sure you monitor his weight and that clean water is provided at all times so he doesn’t get dehydrated.

Go Hiking

hiking-with-your-dog

Use your dog as an excuse to get yourself and your family out of the house. Your dog needs exercise and so do you – but your dog will be a whole lot more vocal about getting it than you and the rest of your family are. Wrap yourself up warm – include the dog in that, and buy him or her a doggy coat! – and go to your nearest open space or hiking spot for a bit of recreational walking. You could even let your dog off the leash for a while if she has good recall – she might be a lot easier to spot in the undergrowth if it’s been snowing than she usually is!