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Pooch Wellness: 5 Tips for a Happy, Healthy Dog

Posted by Jessica McCarthy on

Food is a vital part of a dog’s health, but it’s not absolutely everything.  We’re excited to share our 5-pointed star of pooch wellness with you!

  1. Nourishment

You know how we feel about feeding our dogs (and cats too!).  They were born natural, and they want to live natural.  Feeding them a scientifically designed raw diet that has been created with their nutritional needs in mind is their best shot not only at a healthy life, but a long and happy one too.  With the incredible range of locally produced DAFF-registered dinners available for pets, you can rest easy knowing nutrition is taken care of.  These meals are based on the BARF diet and are biologically appropriate – in other words, they are exactly what your pets’ bodies were born to crave.  If you have the time and energy to learn how to do it yourself, following Prey Model Raw feeding guidelines, we say all power to you and we’re here to help! Our Whole Foods and Wellness sections will be of special interest to you in that case.

  1. Learning

The right nutritional input is needed for your dog’s bodies to thrive, but don’t forget their minds!  Dogs are smarter than some might think, and they crave stimulation and entertainment just like humans do.  Training gives them the opportunity to problem-solve, discover, and get rewarded for their smarts.  Who doesn’t love a little challenge and then some positive reinforcement?  On top of that, and perhaps most importantly, training forms a deep bond between pet and person.  Free yourself from the idea that training is a chore, and experience the parental pride that fills you as you watch your pup learn and grow!

  1. Relationships

Dogs are social animals, and they were born to bond, to play, to collaborate, and to cuddle.  Training is just one of the ways you can grow your relationship with your pooch, but there are so many other opportunities.  Make sure everyone in the human family takes a little time to connect with the fur family.  Take your dogs on holiday.  Play with them in the garden.  Tell them about your day (you’ll never find a better listener!).  Whether they’re allowed on the furniture or not, take a minute to give them a little cuddle.  You will find nothing so rewarding as building that bond with your dog.

  1. Sensory Experiences

Like humans experience the world through their eyes, dogs experience the world through their noses.  Did you know a dog can tell by scent when an event happened?  That coffee stain on the rug?  Shadow’s nose can tell you it happened last week Tuesday, just after breakfast.

Take your dogs to familiar places and take them to new ones.  Give them time to run around, sniff, catch up on the neighbourhood news through scents left by other dogs. Let them discover new smells and new ideas.  The chance to be a dog in the fresh air brings them such fulfilment, as you can see in the glow of their eyes after a good run.

  1. Healthcare

Make sure you’re with a vet you really feel you can trust.  Don’t be afraid to ask your vet questions about diet, breed-related health concerns, or to push them for more information before jumping to a particular treatment.  Remember that many vets have had their nutritional training funded by kibble companies though – not every GP has an interest in learning about diet and nutrition, and similarly, not every vet is a dietician.  If you are with an anti-raw vet, their information might be outdated.  This doesn’t mean they’re a bad doctor, just that you may be able to teach them a thing or two, and we can help!

It’s a good idea to take your dog for an annual check-up, because later-stage things like arthritis can be treated much better if they’re caught early.  Most dogs are very stoic and might not complain to you, even if they aren’t feeling their best.  And remember that medicine is one aspect of health – food, play, mental and emotional health, and the other things we’ve talked about here, are all part of what make up a happy and healthy pooch.

Jessica McCarthy

Jess is a founding member of Natural Born Pets, and has been a writer and an animal lover all her life. A Cape Town gal and a lover of nature, the mission to bring proudly local and naturally healthy living to your pets is very dear to Jess's heart. Whether she's researching and writing non-fiction articles and social posts, devising full-length plays or short stories, or writing one of her infamously long and colourful emails to friends, Jess is happiest with a pen in her hand and a pet on her lap.

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