The Importance of a Healthy Lifestyle for Dogs
Today’s dogs typically live in a lifestyle where they don’t expend the energy they generate, leading to its accumulation. Due to improper dog care, urban dogs often lead lives that resemble a luxurious prison.
The term “healthy lifestyle” is becoming more and more popular in human contexts, and we roughly know what it entails: healthy nutrition, exercise, peaceful rest, and more. These aspects mainly serve the well-being of our bodies. In addition to these, there are activities and needs crucial for our mental health.
These include human relationships, exposure to new stimuli, learning, culture, entertainment, and the like. The same holds true for dogs!
Improper dog care and resulting physical and mental illnesses
Every living being generates energy necessary for survival and daily life. However, dogs live alongside us in a way that doesn’t allow them to use up this energy, leading to its accumulation.
They don’t need to hunt for food, usually don’t have to defend their territory, and in the best case, their reproduction doesn’t depend on defeating rivals. In the past, different breeds had specific functions and worked hard for their daily meal. Today, urban dogs’ lives somewhat resemble a luxurious prison.
They receive full service and participate in programs (if at all) that often do not cater to their actual needs. If accumulated energy isn’t released due to improper dog care, when they have nothing to do and are forced into resting, it leads not only to behavioral issues but also to health problems.
It’s no coincidence that nowadays, we encounter dog illnesses that were previously unthinkable. Physical conditions like allergies, dog cancer, or mental illnesses such as separation anxiety and excessive sensitivity have become more common in the 21st century, and these were previously unimaginable.
The responsibility of dog ownership doesn’t stop at providing food and love, although many believe it’s sufficient.
Exhausting your dog
Exhausting your dog mentally is just as important a task as proper nutrition, if not more!
Another important aspect is that physical exhaustion alone is not enough! How many can relate when, after a three-hour walk, the dog is still uncontrollable for about twenty minutes at home, remaining just as agile, excited, or sometimes even more unmanageable than before the long walk.
Simply putting your dog on a treadmill and letting it tire out is not enough.
We need to provide them with activities that satisfy their instincts and utilize their genetically inherited abilities. This can vary depending on your dog’s origin and disposition.
It’s also crucial to stimulate your dog’s mind. Setting challenges they can solve provides them with a sense of accomplishment. Beyond these, it’s essential that your dog participates with you in these activities, with you determining the flow of events, the start, and end of joint actions.
Coordinated, group work, the “shared actions” directed by the dominant individual – in this case, the owner – is one of the most crucial aspects of a dog’s life.
For your dog to be healthy and well-balanced, they need to expend their energy, both physically and mentally, and fulfill their instincts. The lack of this can lead to behavioral and various health problems, often resulting in immune system-related conditions like allergies and cancer.
It is important if you notice symptoms of such a disease in your pet:
- Consult with your veterinarian to establish a precise diagnosis if you notice symptoms of such diseases.
- Strengthen your dog’s immune system (K9 Inu®, K9 InuExtra®, K9 Immunity™, K9 Immunity Plus™) to prevent serious illnesses from developing.
- Strengthen your dog’s joints (K9 InuFlex®, K9 FullFlex™) against the negative effects of increased stress on cartilage.
- Immediately make changes in your dog’s diet and lifestyle, as well as your relationship with them.
Proper dog ownership and shared activities
Dog ownership that includes “shared activities” and a well-designed lifestyle program not only positively affects a dog’s physical and mental health but is also an essential part of regulating the dog-owner relationship.
There are programs that fulfill all of these criteria simultaneously, and some cater to specific aspects. Variety and interactions with other dogs are crucial, and visiting your dog’s natural habitat, the forest and nature, should not be neglected.
|Key aspects of a well-structured lifestyle program include:
|There are numerous programs that meet these criteria. Without aiming for completeness, we present a few:
Lifestyle: It’s Good, but How Do I Start?
For example, start with a ball. A ball is perfect for laying the foundation for the skills that will allow your dog’s dormant abilities to emerge, which are necessary for participating in more entertaining activities for both your dog and yourself – let’s face it, playing fetch with a ball can become dull after a while.
Occasionally, don’t just throw the ball, but compete for it, steal it, chase your dog, hide it (or cover your dog’s eyes) and let them find it, ask for tasks before they receive their favorite toy, and so on – your imagination can come up with even more ideas. It’s your task to observe your dog during this time, notice what interests them the most, what truly excites them, and what leaves them indifferent.
Another excellent method to start lifestyle programs is clicker training – this is a great way to mentally stimulate your dog and provide enjoyable activities for both of you.
These days, there are more and more interactive games available in stores, but you can also create puzzles yourself – let your dog figure out how to get around an obstacle or under something, or how to deal with a situation like a leash getting caught. You can start learning through training at a dog school.
From the descriptions above, it’s clear that the array of lifestyle programs is nearly endless. However, two common points connect all of them: a happy dog cannot exist without a good lifestyle program, and both the dog and the owner enjoy the excellent lifestyle program, as well as the well-deserved rest afterward.
Whatever sport or lifestyle program you do with your dog, it’s a good idea to use supplements to help alleviate the increased physical strain.
Check out our Hip & Joint support products.