Back in the day before dogs were domesticated, they knew how to feed and fend for themselves. Instincts told them what to eat, how to exercise, and eventually, when to enter a human’s home.
These days, your domesticated dog needs you to make some decisions on their behalf. Your dog’s physical, behavioral, and mental health depends on you. By adding a few simple things to their diet, removing a few others, and integrating some simple health tips into your daily routine, you can start making your dog healthier right now!
1. Add coconut oil to their diet
Coconut oil’s reputation as a superfood isn’t just for humans. This nutrient-dense, naturally-derived oil is a great addition to your dog’s diet in safe, small amounts.
Coconut oil can improve your dog’s digestion, soothe dry skin, and even freshen breath. Add a teaspoon to your dog’s food, mix it in to tasty homemade treats, or apply it topically. Click here to learn more about how coconut oil can benefit your dog!
2. Cut excess sugar
Did you know that some commercial dog treats contain sugar or high-fructose corn syrup? Health-conscious humans have learned to avoid the processed sweet stuff, but pet foods and pet treats sometimes sneak it in.
You can make this change right now: go read the label on your dog treats. If sugar or HFCS is on the list, chuck the bag and go shopping for more healthful treats (such as freeze-dried raw choices), or make your own at home.
3. Give them some veggies (and limited fruits)
Dogs are omnivores, and they thrive on a balanced diet that includes vegetables. Toss your pup a carrot for vitamin A and potassium, or some cooked sweet potato for fiber and vitamin C.
4. Stick to healthy carbs (and cut the fillers)
Dogs need carbohydrates for energy, but carbs don’t have to come from grains! In fact, lots of dogs thrive on a completely grain-free diet. The most important thing is that your dog receive healthy, whole carbohydrates. That means stuff like oatmeal for dogs who can eat grains, and alternative carbs like sweet potatoes for those who can’t.
Your dog’s diet should be changed gradually to avoid upset tummies, but you can start today by researching high-quality dog foods and planning to make the switch.
5. Step up your walking game
Dog walks are a normal, everyday part of life. But like most routines, they can get a little boring. For greater health benefits for you and your dog, vary your walk routine! Try taking a different route for sight (and scent) variety. Or, add some stairs for an extra cardio boost.
If you don’t have time for daily walks, get yourself a dog walker—it makes a big difference for your dog.
6. Add fish oil to their kibble
Fish oil is a common supplement for humans and dogs alike. It’s chock full of omega-3 fatty acids, which help make your dog’s coat and nails smooth, shiny, and strong. Omega-3’s also benefit heart and joint health.
Lastly, fish oil works as an appetite-stimulant for some picky dogs (because yeah, it can be a little stinky).
7. Play mind games (the good kind)
From obedience training to puzzle toys, there are tons of ways to keep your dog’s brain sharp.
To get started, play a quick game of “treat hide ‘n’ seek.” Ask your dog to sit-stay in one place, and walk around the room “hiding” small pieces of treats. Then, release them to enjoy the hunt.
8. Stop using plastic bowls
Have you been filling up the same grimy old plastic water bowl for years? Time to switch it out for stainless steel. Plastic food bowls get small scratches over time, trapping icky bacteria that can cause allergic reactions.
Stainless steel, on the other hand, is unbreakable, durable, dishwasher-safe, and easy to sanitize Stoneware is another safe, non-porous option!
Is your dog getting older? Support their joint health with a glucosamine supplement to lubricate joints and ease discomfort caused by arthritis.
By making a few small changes today, you can help your dog be healthier tomorrow and for the rest of their life!