1. Feed them a fresh and healthy diet
Have you ever heard of the term "you are what you eat?" Well, imagine if you were asked to eat only fries every day for every meal for the rest of your life. It might be fun for the first few days, but we all know we wouldn't feel too great after a while. Imagine the nutrients we would be depriving our body! Well, guess what? That is exactly what it is like for over 80% of dogs in Australia. These dogs are fed a highly processed dry food every day.
The number one thing you should be doing for your pet is feeding them a natural, balanced and species-appropriate diet, also known as a raw food diet. Raw food is moisture-rich and natural, and what dogs would have eaten before we domesticated them, much like wolves! If you think about it, they wouldn't find a highly processed dry food like kibble out in the wild, would they? So why would we put this in their bowl?
An ideal diet for a dog is made up of 70% muscle meat (for the protein), 10% bone (for calcium), 10% offal (for the packed nutrients, particularly for Vitamin D) and 10% vegetables (for their antioxidants, fibre and enzymes), the list goes on! (2). Big Dog Pet Food's BARF patties are already complete and balanced, so you can be assured your pet will be getting all the nutrients it needs to thrive and live its best life!
2. Daily physical exercise
This is a no-brainer. Have you ever moved your body and suddenly felt extremely happy? Well, science shows that if you exercise, you produce and release endorphins that make you happy and energetic, and guess what? It is the same for dogs! (1). Dogs were never meant to be couch potatoes and they all need to be exercised.
Exercise for dogs helps prevent stress, depression, and obesity. It also promotes better sleep and a healthier gut! This is because new cell growth and blood circulation within the stomach aids in digestion and allows them to relieve themselves. Holding it in can create harmful bacteria in the dog's urinary tract. (1).
As a general rule of thumb, your dog should be spending 30 minutes to 2 hours a day being active (3). The amount of exercise will depend on your dog's breed and fitness level; for example, a French Bulldog may only need 20 minutes of walking and 10 minutes of fetch each day, whereas a Kelpie might require two 45-minute runs each day (or more – just ask any kelpie parent).
3. Give your dog mental exercise/stimulation activities
This one isn't commonly spoken about, but don't worry; we won't ask you to hold flashcards in front of them or get them to solve math equations. Instead, here are some simple and easy mental stimulation ideas for dogs:
- Training or tricks
- Give them a bone to gnaw on (with supervision). Check out our bone guide here.
- Use a licki mat with their food. (Big Dog Patties can be easily smeared on a licki mat). The grooves in the licki mat stimulate their tongue sensations. One of our favourites is Super Feedy! Their bowl is a 4 in 1 slow feeder. Check it out!
- Buy or make a game where you can hide their favourite treats in it, and they need to figure out how to get it out!
These activities will create happiness and well-being. It builds confidence and gives them a feeling of accomplishment. It also nips anxiety, frustration, and boredom in the bud (4). It is also a good distraction for them if you find they are an anxious dog. Otherwise, our Stress and Anxiety Probiotic can be that extra support for any anxious puppers out there.
4. Brush your dog’s teeth!
This one is also another rare one! It isn't often that you find pet parents consistently brushing their dog's teeth, but it is a very important one!
Leaving your dog's teeth untreated can lead to some painful diseases, and your dog may develop Gingivitis, Periodontal Disease, and infection (5).
Ways to keep your dog's teeth clean:
- Give your dog a raw meaty bone a few times each week.
- Daily tooth brushing with a soft brush! (Check out Shy Tiger toothpaste!)
- Dental Chew Sticks (Bell & Bone Dental Sticks are great on days you don't have time to brush their teeth)
- Have dental check-ups with your vet every 6 – 12 months
- Feeding them a species-appropriate diet.
Read more about dental health here.
5. Create a safe and happy environment
It's not well known how easily any living animal, including us, can absorb perceptive chemicals! To help you make your home truly pet-friendly for your fur baby, we have put together a few things you need to consider.
We encourage using natural, chemical-free cleaning sprays when wiping down benches or cleaning the home. Seeing how quickly these sprays can kill insects should indicate how dangerous they can be! These sprays leave a coat of poison on your floors or garden. Then, if your pet walks or lies on the contaminated surface, these toxins go right into their tiny body! (6).
This also includes certain indoor plants. If you have a curious dog that enjoys getting its snuffle in places they shouldn't or gnawing on things they shouldn't, we recommend avoiding these plants for your fur baby:
This also includes removing any emotional toxins, grief, trauma, tension, stress, and anger from the home, they all feel these, and by changing it can help with their overall well-being.
If you're new to raw feeding and want to learn more, check out these resources.
To learn more about Big Dog's healthy, raw diet for your pet check out our product pages.
To find out where you can buy Big Dog raw food for your pet, visit our Where to Buy page.
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