Karen Wild: Doing the best for your dog

Karen Wild column EMN-140715-124751001
Karen Wild column EMN-140715-124751001

My clients often ask me what they can do for their dog. How can they make their best friend’s life better than ever? What do they need to buy, how can they comfort them, and keep them healthy?

Some of us worry that our dog is unhappy, or that if we could only spend more on our pets to make them happier.

The good news is, dogs are incredibly adaptable. It doesn’t mean that we have to spend thousands on the newest dog food recipes, delicately arranging their dinner on a saucer with a parsley garnish. Nor do we need to spend hundreds on a dog bed that is hand-stitched leather as they might sit on the sofa or our laps instead.

Regular visits to the vets, to keep up their worming and flea treatment and other checks, is better than a once-yearly vaccination. Your dog can forget what it is like to have someone examine them. They have no way of telling whether a trip in the car will lead to the vets or to the park. Our local vets are marvellous, and we are very lucky that they encourage regular contact to make sure that the dogs themselves don’t mind visiting.

How about their food? The plethora of nutritional information is overwhelming. Do plenty of research, since every dog has different needs and one food that suits my dog that may not suit yours. Look at your budget and lifestyle. ’Instant’ kibble dried biscuit is easier for many, but some dogs do best on fresh, raw diets.

Daily walks are a must, preferably morning and afternoon/evening. A trip around the block is ok, but better that you give your dog some free-running walks where they can sniff to their heart’s content. Find a lovely local area where you can meet other well-behaved dogs and well-behaved owners, too.

And if the thought of letting your dogs run fills you with horror, you definitely need training! All pups and owners should have basic life skills training.

Since my puppy classes began offering this, I am very proud of the excellent behaviour shown by the dogs that earn their coveted rosettes in class.

They are truly great owner-dog teams, with normal, controllable natural dog instincts and responsible owners who look out for issues long before they occur.

It is never too late to start with proper canine care. Make today your first day!