National Dog Day is August 26th, and this month we’re celebrating wellness by pampering our favorite furry friends! Alongside being lifelong best friends, dogs provide us with incredible health and wellness benefits, so it’s important that we return the favor. This quick guide will give you a place to start when it comes to giving your four-legged family members a little extra love this month.
How Dogs Affect Our Wellness
We all know that pets bring additional happiness and wellbeing to our lives (a claim backed by the CDC). And studies have shown that people with pets tend to have better levels of fitness and decreased stress, blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.
Dog owners in particular tend to have healthier social lives as adults and even go the doctor fewer times a year (likely because of the decrease in stress-related illness or injury).
Pampering Your Pooch
While we show our pets tons of love and affection, sometimes it's hard to know how to increase their wellness outside of their regular vet visits, heartworm medicine, and flea collars. Here’s a few ideas to consider:
Take a To-Go Drink.We’re well into summer, and it is hot. However, our dogs have adorable year-round fur coats and less-than-effective sweat glands. (That’s actually the reason they pant so hard! They’re getting rid of excess moisture through their tongue and pulling in cooler air.) And while every dog loves a good summertime adventure, it’s important to help them keep cool and hydrated, even if you’ll be spending most of your time in the shade.
Investing in an easy-to-use collapsible travel bowl is a great way to give them a sip of water here and there without having to lug along a giant water bowl in the car. Just keep a water bottle cool in an individual water bottle carrier, pop up the bowl, and pour some in! Your dog will truly appreciate the chance to cool off.
Enjoy Some K-9 Bath Time.We all deserve a little self-care, including our pets! Dogs have sensitive skin and thick fur, meaning they need soap formulations specifically crafted for their bodies.
To protect their sensitive skin and soothe any extra dryness, go with something fragrance-free and full of plant oils. Ingredients like castor oil and coconut oil help keep their coats sleek and shiny without leaving behind any sticky residue.
Give Them a Puppy Pedicure. Dog paws mimic the soles of our feet. On our furry friends, the skin there is tough and thick so they can walk across cement, dirt, and pavement comfortably. However, just like our hands and feet can get super dry, our pets can become uncomfortable if their paw pads grow too dry and start to crack.
A good paw balm is the perfect solution for this issue. Our favorite (K9 Paw Balm) can be applied to little noses and elbows, too! Whatever brand you choose, make sure you get unscented, food-grade ingredients. This will ensure your furry friend is protected if they lick at their pedicure.
Please note: If your dog’s paws are peeling, that could be an indication of a deeper issue, such as an allergy, zinc deficiency, or liver problem. If you’re not sure whether it’s dry skin or consistent peeling, it might be time to visit the veterinarian!
Stop the scarfing. Dogs tend to have a habit of eating their food as fast as possible. A lot of the time, they can feel sick after eating too quickly. To help them slow down – and exercise their minds in the process – use a “snuffle mat”!
Pour dry dog food over the folded felt pieces and let them get to work! Your dog will brush up on rusty hunting skills and enjoy a sense of accomplishment – and fun! – as they forage through the snuffle mat for their meal…all while avoiding the upset stomach that comes from scarfing down their food.
Note: Snuffle mats are pretty easy to clean and are great for travel. But if you’re looking for something a bit more traditional, try out a “slow bowl” or a “puzzle bowl.”