From tail wags and slobbery kisses to excited greetings and bedtime cuddles, your dog showers you with love and affection every day. So how can you return the favor? Of course, you provide your furry friend with all the basics, like food and shelter, but going the extra mile can show just how much you care.
Here are eight tips on how to make your dog feel loved:
- Take a Trip to the Dog Park
If you’re lucky enough to have a dog park nearby, head on over with your best bud on the next nice day! He’ll love the chance to run off-leash, play with other dogs and enjoy time outside. And while your yard might provide plenty of room, the dog park offers new sights and smells to stimulate your pet’s senses. For more information, check out What Makes a Great Dog Park?
- Organize Other Special Outings
The dog park is not the only fun spot to take your canine companion. If your pet loves water, you can go for a swim at the nearest beach, lake, reservoir or creek. If your dog is more of the hiking type, you can strap on your backpack and hit a trail or two together.
- Give Your Dog a Treat-Dispensing Toy
Do you need to leave your dog home alone while you’re at work or out running errands? You might want to consider keeping some treat-dispensing toys on hand. These special goodies combine two of your dog’s favorite things to make the perfect present.
- Make Your Dog Some Toys
A toy doesn’t have to dispense treats for your dog to love it. In fact, you can add a special individualized touch by making your own! Check out 17 DIY Dog Toys: How to Make Fun, Safe Toys From Things in Your House for tips and instructions, and be sure to rotate your pet’s toys on a regular basis. These objects can provide mental stimulation, help relieve stress and create an outlet for safe chewing.
- Learn How to Give Your Dog a Massage
Though it might sound a bit crazy, your dog can benefit from a relaxing massage, too. If you’re interested in learning the best techniques, take a workshop with your dog, watch instructive YouTube videos or study one of the many books available on the topic. Would you rather call in a professional? Find a business in your area that offers Spa Services for Pets.
- Set Aside Quality Time on a Daily Basis
Dogs love to interact with their owners, so it’s important that you spend one-on-one time with them every day. You might want to set up a regular evening play session or designate a time to give your furry friend a thorough brush down.
- Get Your Dog the Best Bed
What better way is there to show your love than by providing the perfect bed? Though it might be called “cat napping,” dogs like to take little snoozes throughout the day, too. Depending on your pet’s preferences, you can repurpose a crib mattress, buy a nice pillow, find a squishy chair or make your own dog bed. While some dogs love having soft pillows in their crate, others want nothing more than an old chair to curl up on.
- Establish Rules and Maintain a Stable Routine
Dogs are pack animals that live by certain rules, so a great way to show your love is to give your pet a stable home with boundaries, consistent rules and routine feeding times and walks. You are your dog’s pack leader and he needs you to provide this type of structure.
Do you have any more ideas on how to make your dog feel loved? Tell us in the comments below!
Kit Arbuckle works as a freelance writer covering parenting, education, health and pet-care topics.