August 10th is Spoil Your Dog Day, and while it might sound like a great opportunity to lavish your furry best friend with delicious treats, that might not be the healthiest thing for your dog. Dogs should not consume an excessive amount of calories from treats, and they should generally not have “human treats,” either. Instead, we have put together a list of fun AND healthy non-treat ideas to help you spoil your dog.
More than anything, your dog probably loves spending time with you. So to celebrate Spoil Your Dog Day, why not give him what he really wants? Quality time with you playing and having fun! The time you spend together could include giving him some new toys and then playing with him, going on an extra long walk or hike, or simply snuggling on the couch and giving lots of extra pets and affection. Whatever you do, if it’s time that you normally wouldn’t spend together, it’s an extra treat for your poochy pal – and a great way to spoil him!
You can look for other options to keep your dog entertained and occupied for an extended period of time: you could always schedule some quality time with another dog. Most dogs love to socialize with other dogs – just make sure that the other dogs want to socialize as well. Some doggie playdate ideas include penciling some time in with a friend or neighbor’s dog, taking a trip to your local dog park, or maybe even enrolling your dog in a doggie daycare for consistent playdates.
Although it may not seem like a treat for you, ensuring your dog is up-to-date on her wellness exams, as well as any other preventative measures, will really make her happy (and healthy). A lot of dogs actually enjoy going to the vet – hey, it’s a new human pal giving them love and attention! Plus, by proactively checking in on your pup’s health, you can make sure to catch any serious issues early on and help improve her prognosis.
Your dog should visit the vet every 6 to 12 months for a general wellness exam. This will give the vet a chance to check on your dog’s overall health, as well as ensure she is up to date on vaccines (this protects your dog AND your family). Furthermore, it will give you a chance to discuss any issues with your dog’s vet, and learn about any necessary preventative measures, such as heartworm tests or flea/tick protection. If you really care about your dog’s health, you will use Spoil Your Dog Day as a reminder to yourself to spoil her in a way that really matters – by taking care of her dog preventative care!
As previously mentioned, not all treats are good for your dog. But the right treats can be both delicious AND healthy. When picking out a treat to spoil your dog with for Spoil Your Dog Day, make sure it’s something your dog will like but also that it’s appropriate to give a dog. A good rule to follow when picking out treats is to use the same common-sense you’d use when shopping for yourself: look at the ingredients list. If the treat contains a bunch of ingredients you don’t recognize or can’t pronounce, it might not be the best treat for your dog. Most dog treats will also list the amount of calories in the treats. Keep track of these, as a dog should receive no more than 10% of his daily calories from treats.
There is a wide variety of dog treats on the market today, so you should be able to find a good, healthy treat for your dog – no matter what his preference (there are even hypoallergenic options for dogs with allergies). Some treats are not just healthier options, but they can actually improve your dog’s health too. For instance, just like plaque is a common issue for many humans, the problem can plague dogs as well. Dental chews and treats can help to clean your pup’s teeth, reduce tartar, and decrease plaque buildup. (Just remember, dental chews/treats may not be a substitute for brushing your dog’s teeth.)
Work on Behavior/Obedience
Again, this doesn’t seem like it would be fun for your dog, but really, any time that your dog gets to spend with you is a GREAT time! So why not use some of your time together to improve your dog’s behavior? You can work on basic obedience commands such as “sit,” “stay,” and “heel,” and then move on to some of the more “fun” tricks, like “roll over,” “shake,” or “play dead.” You can also work on essential behaviors, such as your dog sitting still while being bathed, having her teeth brushed, or having her nails trimmed.
This year on Spoil Your Dog Day, think about treating your dog to some fun time with friends, new toys that will encourage activity, or something that will improve her health and/or behavior – not actual treats.
If you’d like to talk about more great ways to spoil your pup, please contact us!