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If you were to ask us if we’d ever switch places with our dog, the answer would probably be yes. Why? Because they spend their days lounging around, playing outside and eating treats. (Sounds pretty good, no?) But there’s more to a dog’s life than leftovers and belly rubs. Here, a few ideas for how to make your dog the happiest and healthiest he or she can be.

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Create a Daily Routine Together

Dogs value (and crave) one-on-one time together, especially if you live in a multi-dog household or have children. Try showing your pup you’re solely focused on them, even if it’s for just 30 minutes, by establishing a routine. Think: an early morning stroll, a trip to the dog run or playing fetch after work. Try keeping the activity at the same time every day so they can come to expect it. Over time, your dog will begin to look forward to these special moments you spend together.

Sponsored merrick dog food
Merrick

Feed Them a High-Quality Diet

When it comes to feeding our pets, we follow one simple rule: If we won’t eat it, neither should they. Why? Because they deserve high-quality ingredients, just like us. But instead of handmaking them a gourmet dinner every night, look to Merrick Grain Free dog food, which is made from good stuff you can trust. Each and every bag is cooked in an organically certified USA kitchen and uses locally sourced ingredients (no poultry by-products, artificial preservatives or gluten). They even have several recipes from chicken and sweet potato to rabbit and chickpeas, so your fur baby’s picky tastes are in good hands.

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Use Leashes That Fit Their Lifestyles

Let’s be honest: We often choose fashion over function when picking out leash accessories. Hey, there’s no shame in wanting Milo to look her cutest. But it’s important to consider their individual needs above all else when choosing a collar vs a harness. How do you know which is better? If your pet is on the smaller side and walks slow, they will probably do fine with just a collar (and a leash, of course). However, if they walk quickly or pull, a harness is typically the better option. These allow you to have better control (which means better safety) and they cause less strain on their necks (it’s better for their little bodies). For more advice on the best option for your unique pup, talk to your vet or a trained professional.

two dogs playing
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Set Up Doggie Playdates

Most dogs love the having the chance to run around with other doggos. It’s why they get so excited when they go to the dog park or meet a new dog on the street. So an easy way to keep them happy is to set up puppy playdates. Letting them run wild in the backyard for an hour with a friend checks two of the most important boxes, socialization and exercise. Plus, you know what they say: A tired dog is a well-behaved dog.

dog getting treat from human
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Keep Double-Duty Treats on Hand

As humans, one of the things we take for granted is the ability to treat ourselves (oh, hey, self care Sundays). And sometimes, your dog deserves a little extra something, too. Skip the tiny trainers and get some larger options they can gnaw on and enjoy for longer. Better yet, make it a tasty treat that happens to clean their teeth and freshen their breath. Remember: Doggy dental care is important, too.

golden retriever with toy
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Be Picky About Their Toys

Dog toys can be great for two reasons: eliciting sheer joy, and staving off boredom. So when you’re choosing new toys, consider your pooch’s personality and lifestyle. Is she a serious shredder? Get plushes and bones designed for extreme chewers that don’t have any hard pieces she might accidentally ingest. Do you leave him at home while you go to work? Grab a puzzle specifically designed for dogs. Fill it with treats before you leave the house to increase cognitive health and decrease any boredom-induced bad behaviors.

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