10 Ways to Nurture Your Dog

There are few things in the world that give us more pleasure than our pets. After all, the word “dog” is synonymous with loyalty, devotion, and love. But do you show your dog how much you cherish him on a daily basis? Take a moment to consider these “top 10” ways to support the dog who plays such an important role in your life.

#1: Playtime!

Most dogs love to play well past puppyhood. This didn’t happen by chance; a dog’s lifelong juvenile tendencies (called neoteny) are a result of the domestication process. So playing around isn’t just a fun distraction—it’s hardwired in his DNA. Have fun getting on the ground, running around, playing hide-and-seek, or coming up with your own special games to satisfy this basic doggy instinct.

#2: Take a Walk

As our lives become busier, it becomes easier to let the dog out in the fenced backyard to “exercise himself.” But taking your dog for a walk is one of the best ways to keep him fit and release some excess energy. He will be endlessly fascinated by the smells, sights, and sounds of your neighborhood. It will give you both a chance to socialize with others, and you may even make some new friends on your block.

#3: Grooming

You might think of grooming your dog as just another chore on your “to-do” list. However, a quiet brushing session can keep your canine looking spotless and strengthen your bond. It will give you a chance to look over his coat and skin to check for any potential health issues, and your dog will love the attention.

#4: Spaying/Neutering

Spaying or neutering your pet has numerous health benefits, including preventing certain cancers and other medical problems. And there are behavioral benefits as well, especially with neutered male dogs, who are less likely to mark or roam. As an added bonus, you won’t add to the overpopulation of unwanted pets that already exists in the United States.

#5: Toy Time

An amazing assortment of toys is available for your dog. From simple balls to more complicated “brain games,” a toy can bring hours of fun to your best friend. It will occupy his time when you aren’t around and give you a chance to play together when you are. Just be sure that any toys you purchase are safe and durable.

#6: Food Treats

Many dogs are food motivated, and chances are your pup is one of them! Giving your dog a delicious treat is a great way to let him know you care. If he’s at a healthy weight, then the occasional snack is just fine. If your dog needs to lose a few pounds, you can still give him a healthy option (like a baby carrot) so as not to exacerbate the problem.

#7: Training

Training your dog is a wonderful way to nurture him. Well-trained dogs end up spending more time with the family and are welcomed more places than untrained dogs are. A trained dog is a pleasure to be around, and he’ll benefit from those positive feelings.

#8: Doggy Play Dates

We’ve all heard of play dates among children, but have you thought of arranging one for your dog? Doggy play dates are a great way to socialize your pup — plus he gets to have a good time playing around with a canine friend. Whether you meet at a favorite dog park or just in your backyard, a doggy play date is sure to please him.

#9: Human Play Dates

Why not take your pet out for a jaunt where he’ll meet other dog-loving humans? Dog-friendly public spaces are becoming more common. Do an Internet search of your surrounding area and you might be surprised by how many places you can take your dog. Certain parks, beaches, and pet stores all often welcome dogs with open paws. Just make sure that your dog is leashed and trained appropriately for public outings.

#10: Quality Time

When you get right down to it, most of the items on this list are about spending time with your dog. You are the center of his world, and all it takes is a little time and attention to make him happy!

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