Ask any dog owner and they’re sure to tell you just how wonderful and rewarding it is being a pet parent but, along with the companionship and fun, there is an inevitable responsibility that comes with owning any pet. It’s up to us to make sure our dogs get everything they need to live a happy, healthy life and to ensure they thrive as part of our family. To make sure you’re doing the very best for your furry bundle(s) of joy we’ve put together this handy list of five basic things all dogs need from their owners.
1. A safe, comfortable home
One of the most important things your dog needs from you is a safe, comfortable home. Stress, fear and anxiety can cause your dog to feel unsafe and unhappy, this is especially true for puppies or rescue dogs that have recently been introduced into your home, but all dogs can feel distressed in situations they find difficult.
Create a designated area of your home where your dog can settle. A safe, clean spot away from potential hazards. Pick somewhere away from draughts or damp, which can lead to health problems, and avoid enclosed conservatories or direct sunlight from windows, especially in hot weather. Dogs are susceptible to heat stress and you should contact your vet if your dog displays the signs of heatstroke.
It’s important to remember that our homes can be full of potential pup hazards. Things that may seem safe to us can be harmful to our inquisitive pets. Items such as houseplants, medicines or household and garden chemicals should be left well out of reach of mischievous mutts! The RSPCA has some good information on common dog poisons that you might find helpful.
Although you might want to get creative and opt for a doggie print duvet and matching accessories, a ‘dog zone’ doesn’t have to be anything fancy. The most important thing is that you find somewhere clean, cosy, stress and hazard-free for your best friend to hang out.
“Although you might want to get creative and opt for a doggie print duvet and matching accessories, a ‘dog zone’ doesn’t have to be anything fancy.”
- A good diet
As dog lovers, it's natural to want to give our furry friends the very best we can so it’s essential to consider your dog as an individual when it comes to diet. It can be tricky to work out the best diet for your dog; age, size, breed and any medical issues, for example, need to be taken into consideration when feeding your pet, both for food type and how much you feed them. It’s always a good idea to chat to a vet but generally a diet should be well balanced and dogs should always have access to fresh water.
However well they’ve perfected those puppy dog eyes, you shouldn’t treat dogs with scraps from your plate. Sharing food can cause behavioural problems and much of the human food we enjoy can be harmful to our pets and certain foods should never be given to your dog. Battersea has a good list of foods to avoid that can be toxic to dogs. High quality dog treats are a much more nutritional reward for your dog. Pick treats that use choice cuts, are low in calories (especially for a portly pooch) and that taste great.
We painstakingly researched different types of dog treats to find the top quality treats we put in each of our dog treat boxes. Selecting 100% natural ingredients, we opted for treats that are wheat free and contain only limited, natural sugars to make sure we provide a premium, healthy option for cherished Nibble and Nosh dogs. This means you can be confident about the goodies you provide for your pet, without the need for snack sharing!
“Pick treats that use choice cuts, are low in calories (especially for a portly pooch) and that taste great.”
All dogs need exercise and should have a daily walk. Exercising your dog is not only beneficial for health and waistline, it can also help with things like bonding, digestion and behaviour issues. Letting your dog out for a sniff around the garden isn’t quite enough, dogs need a change of scene so vary routes to allow your dog to explore new smells and spaces. The amount of exercise your dog needs will depend on breed and the stage they’re at in life, but all dogs should have a least one walk a day to make sure they stay happy and healthy.
Dog walking should be fun! It’s great exercise for pet parents too and it’s free! Pick dog friendly walks that you will both enjoy and remember the poo bags! We include poo bags in some of our treat boxes to help ensure you don’t get caught out!
The UK Kennel Club has some great tips for walking your pampered pooch.
Taking care of your dog’s mental health is important. Keeping their brains stimulated helps burn off energy and can help avoid unwanted behavioural problems caused by boredom and stress. There are lots of toys and games available to help entertain your dog and to keep them alert and active. Interact and play with your dog, teach them a trick, try a game of fetch, a chew toy or a tug contest on a soft, plush dog toy.
“There are lots of toys and games available to help entertain your dog and to keep them alert and active.”
Try hiding healthy dog treats around the house for them to discover, stimulating their senses and their sense of adventure. There are many fun products available that allow you to stuff your dog’s favourite treats inside the toy, this encourages play and stimulates your doggy both physically and mentally as it solves the puzzle to reach the treats inside. This is especially handy if you need to leave your dog alone at home - a busy pup is a happy pup!
This might not be the most fun entry in our list but it’s extremely beneficial to have rules, boundaries and consequences. Teaching your dog where they can and cannot go, what they can and cannot do, will result in a calmer, more content pet and a more harmonious home.
As difficult as it can be to discipline your pet, it helps to establish yourself as the pack leader and generally dogs feel more comfortable and secure when they understand their place in the pecking order. Dogs will often try to push their luck, whining outside a shut door or giving you their sad eyes when you try to enforce some ground rules, but it’s worth persisting.
Whatever boundaries you put in place make sure you keep to them. Confusion will only slow the process of training or breaking bad habits and both you and your dog will become frustrated. Use positive reinforcement - if your dog obeys a command reward them with healthy dog treats and praise. Deliver commands in a consistent tone that your dog will come to recognise and to show you mean business.
Dogs love to please their owners so making you happy should, in turn, do the same for them. As irresistible as that adorable furry face is, boundaries will benefit the whole household. Don’t give in, you’ve got this!
For basic training tips we love this advice from Dogs Trust.