You’ve heard the old saying that dogs are our best friends, and it’s as true today as when it was first penned in 1870. They share our lives and steal our hearts. It’s hard to imagine our modern culture without the dog. Dogs are protectors, our hunting partners, and our farmhands. Our best friends become family. They bring us joy, and making them happy brings us joy, too.
Dogs enrich our lives beyond the tangible. Their stalwart nature reminds us to focus on the positive, and their boundless loyalty epitomizes unconditional love. We don’t have enough fingers to count the ways they bless our lives. Perhaps you’re not sure how to show them how much we love them back.
While there’s no one way to show your dog how much you love him, we should consider what is most important to our pets from their point of view. We can roughly lump what makes them happy into three main categories. First, our best friends want to be comfortable and free from anxiety and pain. Secondly, they want to live long, healthy, active lives. Third, most importantly, they want to spend quality time with us, their favorite people. Let’s think about how these three categories can help us find ways to show our dogs how much we love them in ways they will appreciate.
At a Glance
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Love Is Comfort
Our dogs expect us to feel safe and have a comfortable place to live. A dog knows he’s loved when he feels secure in his surroundings and his surroundings provide him with comfort. One of the easiest ways we can enhance our best friend’s sense of well-being is to provide him with what he needs to feel secure.
Crates For Security
As simple as it sounds, providing your best friend a safe and secure place to rest and relax is key to making him feel comfortable. If you work outside the home, crate training your dog gives him a sense of routine and a “den” in which to find solace as he awaits your arrival home.
There are crates designed for travel, and there are crates designed to look like fine furniture. Crates may help house train or contain your dog when you’re away, but the most natural way a dog relates to his crate is as a den. The denning instinct is something dogs bring with them from their wolf ancestors. His den will be a place to go when he needs some quiet away from the crowd.
Looking specifically at budget and ease of use, the MidWest iCrate Fold & Carry Double Door Collapsible Wire Dog Crate can serve dual functions in your household. This crate has the handy feature of coming with a divider. Depending on how much your pup will grow as he blossoms from puppy to adulthood, a crate that will accommodate him as an adult may be much too large to feel like a cozy den. The divider can provide your pup with something to lean against.
Beds For Sweet Dreams
This MidWest Icrate’s available accessories maximize the cozy hideaway aspect of your pup’s crate. A well-fitting crate mat (or two, so one can be washed while the other is being used) will give your pup a snuggly place to curl up when he needs a nap or just wants to recharge. You can customize his den by choosing the right mat for his size and age, and you can add a stylish matching crate cover. If it is warm, remove the crate cover to maximize ventilation if your dog will be locked in the crate and not going in and out at will.
Pet beds and blankets are a wonderful way to keep your best friend comfortable. Plush and cozy spill-resistant throws protect your furniture so your pup can join you on the couch without worry. Many pets love the feel of a faux fur cover to snuggle on.
As your dog reaches his golden years, his bed will need to absorb the pressure of his weight to keep him comfortable. Orthopedic dog beds come in several styles, some with bolsters on which he may rest his dear head and some with memory foam layers to cushion his weary joints. Many have washable covers because your best friend, as he ages, may have moments of incontinence.
Love Is Health
Our dogs look to us for everything. We must make decisions every day to keep them in top health. Many common canine health problems are preventable, and the things we can do to help keep our best friends feeling their best make them feel loved, even if they don’t know they are good for them, too.
When our best friends are snuggling with us while watching TV, we may detect a bit of dog breath that reminds us how important good oral hygiene is for our pets. Dental disease is common in dogs and can cause tooth loss and pain. Luckily, we can show our best friend we love him by keeping his teeth clean.
Brushing your dog’s teeth to remove the bacteria that can lead to plaque buildup helps prevent gum disease. Dental kits may come with both a regular toothbrush and a fingertip toothbrush. If this is not your dog’s idea of a good time, there are water additives and dental chews that help fight tooth decay and gum disease. You’ll know you’re protecting his pearly whites, but he’ll just happily accept a treat from the person he loves.
Obesity causes severe health risks for your pet, such as heart disease, diabetes, and joint problems. Overfeeding is the number one cause of weight gain in dogs. It all starts with the right dog food, and we adore the human-grade, all-natural ingredients included in The Farmer’s Dog’s fresh-made dog food.
If your dog needs some grains (or you wish to stretch your budget a little further), you can add in some homemade rice. These meals are a great way to keep your dog healthy and happy, making every mealtime a special shared moment together.
Giving our best friends a treat is something both giver and receiver enjoy, but no more than 10% of your dog’s daily food intake should be in the form of treats. Fortunately, not all treats are created equal, and we can find the healthiest options.
We give our best friends treats as rewards for good behavior, as training aids, and just because we love them. Choose treats that serve a dual purpose. Does your buddy have dry skin, or is he prone to indigestion? There’s a treat for that. Be it a tasty oil to add to his kibble or a healthy chew for a job well done, nutritious treats make the most of those calories.
Explore supplements endorsed by veterinarians as effective for the condition you’re treating. Feed no more than the recommended daily amount. If you break a treat into pieces and feed them through the course of the day, your buddy will have even more moments of happiness.
Omega-enriched treats and top dressings benefit most dogs and bring a healthy glow to their coat. Depending on his breed, your dog’s coat also needs periodic brushing to look its best. Do a little research about your dog’s coat type to see how to groom him best. You might choose a rubber curry comb that stimulates the production of oils in the coat. This type of brush is very comfortable to hold so that you can brush to your dog’s heart’s content. A rake will brush the tangles from his hair for a longer-haired dog.
Okay, so this one is a little more for you than your dog, but if you can better plan for medical emergencies and their expensive, unexpected vet bills, it could also mean the difference between life and death for your sweet pet. So, we would be remiss not to mention how important pet insurance can be in protecting your pet and your wallet from economic euthanasia or even the consideration of such when faced with unexpected expensive medical concerns.
Suppose your dog is diagnosed with cancer and needs treatment. Having an existing pet insurance policy will be a life-saver for all, allowing you to focus on what matters most – your sweet dog. This is one gift that will provide comfort and support throughout the years you spend together.
Love Is Time
The number one way to show your dog you love him is to spend time with him. This time can be spent passively chilling next to each other or actively interacting with each other. Listen to what your dog is telling you. Does he bring you a favorite toy repeatedly and wait expectantly? Does he get a case of the zoomies every time you pick up his leash? Is he leaping to sit next to you on the couch before you even get there? If you give your dog your time and attention, he’ll never question your devotion.
Go Out And About Together
Walking is one of the healthiest ways to spend quality time with your best friend. A fifteen to thirty-minute daily walk reduces his risk of obesity and related health problems. If you’re unsure how much walking you and your dog can handle as you begin your journey, start slowly. Try fifteen minutes and build from there.
As you prepare to step out with your best friend, some things can make your ramble more pleasant. One of the first things to upgrade is your buddy’s harness and make sure it fits properly. There are both fit and function to consider, and depending on your dog’s build, you may need to do a bit of shopping around to find the perfect harness for walking or running. Be sure to consider the size of your pup’s body and the shape.
Look for a harness with reflective trim or stitching, so the two of you are clearly visible to drivers. Consider a model with additional padding to relieve pressure, especially if your dog tends to surge forward. As you inspect the harness’ fit and adjust it, make sure it doesn’t pinch or chafe, especially behind his elbows. Check that he can move his forelegs freely. If you have a canine Houdini, verify he can’t back himself out of the harness.
Choose a leash as carefully as you choose your harness. Be sure it has a handle that is easy to hold and with a secure and comfortable grip. You don’t want to have it pulled from your hand if something catches your buddy’s eye. Leash options include standard short leashes and longer retractable options that allow your buddy more freedom to explore as the two of you get out and about.
Spend Time Indoors Together
Attention is the best way to show your dog you love him. How your best friend likes to play depends upon his breed but also on how you’ve raised him. Even fifteen minutes of his favorite game strengthens the bond between you. You’ll alleviate his boredom and associated behaviors and keep him fit in the process.
Not all dogs are natural retrievers, but if your dog loves a good game of toss and fetch, the Chuckit! system has made dogs and their humans happy for years. The launcher’s design allows anyone to throw like a major leaguer without tiring before your buddy is done with the fun.
If your terrier fancies himself a ratter like his ancestors, he’ll appreciate his very own varmint to grab and shake. The Skinny Peltz No Stuffing trio of woodland toys are machine washable, so whenever one gets dirty, just pull out the other and continue the fun.
For the relentless chewers who find solace in exercising their jaws, the Nylabone family has satisfied their needs for many years. As he relaxes at your feet or by your side while chewing his toy, you can rest assured he knows he’s loved.
We don’t need to spend a fortune on frivolous extras to show our dogs we love them. As long as we focus on what matters most to him and carefully select quality products that meet his specific needs, he’ll never doubt our love. Remember that your best friend wants and deserves to feel safe and comfortable, to stay healthy, and for you to spend time with him. Give him these three gifts, and he’ll be the happiest pup on the block.