If you are looking for easy ways you can enhance your dog’s quality of life, you’ve come to the right place. If you want a happier dog, with a longer life, keep reading.
Here are 18 easy ways you can enhance your dog’s quality of life.
Ensure Your Dog Exercises Daily
Dogs absolutely love activity. Especially with their owners. Something as simple as going for a walk with your dog can drastically improve your dog’s mental, physical, and emotional health.
If your dog likes to play with toys, spend 15 minutes each day throwing your dog’s favorite ball or dog-approved pet toy. Playing with toys allows your dog to tap into their instincts in a safe way that gives them some exercise. Even better, they get to have some attention from you.
Running free off the leash might seem dangerous, but it could also be your dog’s favorite thing to do. If you have a big, fenced in yard, run around the back yard with your dog. Even better, take your dog to a dog park.
See, I have a husky. She loves all different types of playing. But running around free with her family is definitely her favorite. She doesn’t like to do it alone, but if I get out there with her and run around in the woods, it’s her absolute favorite thing to do. It also helps with her night time anxiety.
Mental Stimulation with Training and Tricks
They say old dogs can’t learn new tricks. I say this is bogus. They may not learn as easy. However, just like humans, dogs love learning. Whether it be a new trick or just a new experience. Dog’s love mental stimulation. Why do you think they sniff so much? They are learning!
Do you like to play video games? Watch movies? Work puzzles? Play phone games? Dogs enjoy the same type of mental stimulation. There are even dog puzzle toys you can buy them to play with.
Even if you have older dogs, their minds are still active. Try to teach them new tricks periodically. Even if they don’t learn the tricks, they will enjoy the attention and mental stimulation. It’s really good for them and will lift their spirits and morale.
Physical Love and Attention
Every dog owner knows that their furry little friends absolutely love attention. Cuddling with your dog, letting it sit on your lap, petting your dog… All of these things let your dog know that you love them. It gives them physical comfort and will help with their mental health.
Talk to your dog. Pet your dog. Allow your dog to express it’s love to you. Treating your dog like a member of the family will greatly enhance your dog’s quality of life.
There’s a reason dogs are pack animals. They are social and have the instinct to belong to a social circle. They crave a pack and a purpose. It’s literally what they are. Pack animals need a pack. So allow them to be part of the pack.
Periodically Remove the Dog Collar
Don’t do this outside of course. You should periodically remove your dog’s collar. It will be a big change of pace for them. Some dogs absolutely love their collars. When you remove it, they feel like something is missing. Yet, a break from the collar can give them a sense of freedom.
Also, they can get a break from the jingling noise of the tag when they are moving around. It also lets them have access to the area of their neck that is usually covered up. Your dog might find that a break from the collar is really nice.
Buy Dog Toys and Food Puzzles
I’ve met people in the past that don’t allow their dogs to have toys. To me, this is just not okay. This is just asking a dog to ignore it’s hunting and playing instincts. A dog raised without toys will either end up hunting animals and tearing up stuff it shouldn’t, or it will become a lazy sad dog that’s unhealthy.
Dog toys allow dogs to embrace their instincts and enjoy being a dog. Dog toys also help prevent anxiety, depression, tooth decay, and a number of other health issues. Dog toys give your dog exercise and helps prevent them from getting into or tearing up things they shouldn’t.
Food puzzles are a specific type of toy that allows dogs to play a mental learning game while getting exercise. This will add mental stimulation to their play time.
Give Your Dog a Variety of Food
The food you feed your dog can greatly impact your dog’s quality of life. Many dog owners believe in only giving your dog the same food every time they eat. Remember what we said about giving your dog new experiences? Well, new food can be one of the most important experiences your dog can have.
Most of you out there know that a dog’s favorite thing is food. Have you ever noticed that sometimes your dog will beg for your food, but when they try it, it’s something they don’t like?
A while back, this happened to me with a cucumber. My dog saw my niece eating a cucumber. Of course, she starts begging for it. My niece gave her the cucumber and behold, she didn’t like it. She chewed on it. She played with it some. Spit it out. Smelled it. Licked it some more. Then decided it wasn’t for her. However, my dog loved the experience.
There’s a lot of debate and mixed information about dog nutrition. Some people even feed their dogs better than their own kids. Regardless of how you feed your dog (safely), try to give them at least an occasional variety. They will be happier because of it. Also, make sure you are feeding your dog safe and healthy food while you’re at it!
Get Your Dog an Orthopedic Dog Bed
As dogs age and get older, their joints and bones can deteriorate. Still joints can be avoided over time. Whether your dog is young or old, get your dog an orthopedic dog bed.
An orthopedic dog bed can greatly enhance your dog’s quality of life from a physical aspect. If your dog develops orthopedic issues over time, this will also affect their activity levels greatly impacting their health and wellness.
Clean and Groom Your Dog Regularly
Cleaning and grooming your dog has a number of benefits that can greatly enhance your dog’s quality of life. Basic hygiene will be greatly improved by regularly grooming your dog.
Trimming your dog’s nails regularly can prevent the development of bad posture and bone deformations. General grooming minimizes the risk of various infections.
Ticks and fleas can cause a number of different health issues both long and short term. Regardless, grooming your dog is an easy way to improve your dog’s quality of life.
Spend One-on-One Time with Your Dog
We all know that dogs love being with the family. But did you know that your dog also enjoys spending one-on-one time with everyone it cares about?
You may notice that sometimes your dog will suddenly become clingy to just you. Only you… Or your dog will suddenly just want to be in your niece’s lap.
This is your dog trying to get one-on-one time with the people it cares about. If you care about your dog, you will make some time to spend one-on-one time with it. This will create a better bond between you and your dog. It can greatly increase your dogs happiness and enhance your dog’s quality of life.
Go to the Vet At Least Once Per Year
Take your dog to the veterinarian at least once per year. If you want a happy and healthy dog, you should get your dog an annual checkup. This is an easy way to increase the longevity of your dog’s life.
This will help give you peace of mind that there are no severe health issues with your dog. And if there are any health problems, you can take care of them early. You definitely don’t want any health issues, diseases, or disorders to go unnoticed.
Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
There are so many benefits of regularly brushing your dog’s teeth. Just as in humans, it prevents tooth decay, rot, bad breath, infections, and gum disease.
Brushing your dog’s teeth can significantly enhance your dog’s quality of life. Dental diseases in dogs can lead to serious health issues that will harm your dog or even cause early, preventable death.
With that said, it’s important to note that dogs are particularly good at hiding dental pain. It’s in their instincts to hide all types of pain. Especially pain related to their mouths. Therefore, dental pain is much easier to overlook.
Take care of your dog’s dental hygiene for longer life and less health problems. Keep in mind this will also prevent eating problems with different foods as your dog gets older.
Give Your Dog a Playful Adventure
Most dogs love adventuring. They love new places, new smells, and just overall exploring.
Sometimes when you take your dog for a walk, go somewhere your dog hasn’t been before. I remember the first time my dogs went to the beach. Absolute… insanity! They loved it.
Maybe you could take them to a dog park they haven’t been to before. Do your dogs like the car? Maybe take them on a short road trip or out to a hiking trail for a walk. It’s easy to find new adventures for your dog if you just make the time.
Learn to Speak the Language of Dog
Even if they don’t speak english, it’s important to know that dogs can talk. They are typically very good communicators. Not just audibly but in their body language as well. Pay attention to your dog when it tries to get your attention. Try to continuously learn what your dog is trying to communicate.
At this point, I know when my husky is running low on food, as compared to completely out of food. I know when she wants to go outside, as opposed to wanting to play with me indoors. All by just the way she comes up to me. It may seem hard for me to explain. But I understand what she wants as soon as she comes up to me.
Minimize Your Dog’s Alone Time
Again, dogs are extremely social “pack animals” that require a lot of interaction. Dogs that live most of their lives alone usually have some form of depression.
I can remember back to when I was a kid. I can’t say my parents were good dog owners. Our dog was the same age as me. Actually a little older. She was an “outside only” dog and she was the only pet we had. Even when we went on trips, she stayed outside in the back yard and my parents would just make sure she had enough food and water.
Now that I’m older, I realize that our dog was very lonely, depressed, and didn’t live a very good life. She was lucky if she got an hour of attention on any given day. It was very sad. I didn’t even realize it at the time. She was a very good dog though.
I remember near the end when she got older, she got some form of Dog Dementia. I remember that when she got confused, she was scared of coming inside the house. You see, the backyard was her familiar home. Not inside. So when she got Dementia, she stopped coming inside at all. Okay… I need to take a break. Thinking of this got me down.
Take Your Dog on a Trip to Someone Else’s House
Again, dogs love exploring and going to new places. Also, they love visiting people they are close to but don’t get to see very often.
Taking your dog on a trip to someone else’s house doesn’t mean just take them to random people’s houses all the time. It means take them to visit Grandma. Or take them to visit your friend that comes over sometimes. Stuff like that.
Your dog will appreciate the extra quality time going on an adventure with you.
Buy Your Dog a Safety Belt for the Car
You should never let your dog run loose in the car when you plan on driving. It’s a danger to everyone. If you get into an accident, your dog can get hurt or even die. Your dog needs a safety belt too.
On top of that, one study found that 29% of dog owners admit to being distracted by their dog while driving in the car… because they don’t restrain their dogs while driving!
You should always keep your dog restrained while driving. It will prevent accidents… And if you have an accident, your dog should have a seat belt (but designed for dogs) just like everyone else.
Treat Your Dog Like a Member of the Family
You should always treat your dogs like a member of the family. No, you don’t have to set a chair for them at the dinner table. But you should show them love, make time for them, and treat them with respect.
Share your daily activities with your dog as often as you can. Even if that means they lay on your lap while you watch TV. Or walk to the mailbox with you. My dogs even like to lay under my desk when I work.
Outside Time is Essential for Dogs (Just Like Humans!)
All dogs are descendants of wolves. Their natural habitat, home, is outside. It’s literally part of who they are to want to be outside. Outdoor activity is absolutely necessary for a happy dog.
Since it’s part of their instincts to have outside time, be sure to encourage your dog’s desire to have outside activity. Don’t discourage it.
Make time to spend time doing things outside with your dog. It might be hard for them to understand why you don’t like it as much as they do. The same way you may not understand why they don’t want to sit on the couch 8 hours a day.
Final Thoughts: Dog Quality of Life Improvement
We all agree that we want our dog’s to have the best, longest, and healthiest life they can live. With just a little time and effort, we can enjoy our dogs while improving their quality of life.
If you don’t actively try to help your dog live it’s best life, why have a dog in the first place? Right?
Do you have any thoughts or suggestions? Is there anything that you think should be on this list? If so, leave us a comment below. Or let us know on Social Media!