Our dogs are our family, and we always want to make sure that they have everything they need. Fundamental things like food, water, and shelter are a given, but what else is necessary to make our dogs’ lives the best they can be?

Below are 9 things that our dogs need from us the most. Luckily, they bring so much to our lives, we enjoy keeping them happy and healthy!

1. Undivided Attention (at least some of the time)

Our lives are crazy busy, and as much as we’d love to, we can’t give our dogs our full attention all the time. However, it’s important to dedicate some time every day where our dogs have our undivided attention; no phones, no distractions, just quality time with your pup.

2. Boundaries

We love to spoil our dogs, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t need some rules. In fact, having boundaries helps ease their stress. If they know how to behave in certain situations and can anticipate how you’ll react, they won’t be anxious by not knowing what to expect. It’s also important to stay consistent. For instance, don’t let your pup on the couch one day and kick him off the next — it’ll only lead to stress and confusion.

3. Routine

Like boundaries, routine helps dogs feel safe. When they can expect consistent feeding, walking, and sleeping times, they know when and where their resources will be found and their needs will be met.

4. Trust

Dogs live to be our companions; it’s in their DNA. That deep-seeded loyalty is why we love them, and why they deserve it in return. Give your dog space (if he needs it), return his affection (when he wants it), and never startle, tease, or corner him. When you respect your dog, he’ll feel safe and comfortable.

5. Exercise

While lots of dogs love lounging, they also need their fair share of exercise. The amount of activity depends on the dog, but no matter what breed or age, all pups need some sort of movement every day!

6. Mental Stimulation

A destructive dog is often a bored dog, so make sure to keep that canine mind busy! Puzzle toys, training, and playing games with you are all great ways to keep your pup’s brain sharp, occupied, and happy. After all, how would you like staring at the same four walls day after day?

7. Grooming

While dogs may not love having their nails clipped or getting their teeth brushed, grooming is imperative for their health. Different dogs will require different types and frequencies of grooming, so make sure your pup’s “beauty regimen” is appropriate for him or her. Whether you do it at home or take them to a professional, keep your pooch clean, clipped, and brushed to be at his healthiest.

9. Quality Food

As mentioned earlier, it’s an obvious fact that food and water are necessary for dogs to survive. With that said, every canine has different dietary needs. The wrong food can cause allergies, dry skin, obesity, or other issues, so do your research and ask your vet about what’s best to feed your pooch. Likewise, make sure your pup always has access to plenty of clean water.

9. Comfort: Emotional & Physical

We know our dogs need love and affection, but they also need comfy, cozy places in the house! Every pup deserves a warm home to call her own, filled with family, food, and soft places to sleep. Senior dogs, with aching joints, should have multiple beds where they can stop and rest (or maybe yours prefers the couch!).

While there are dogs that love spending time outside, no dog should ever be in the elements 24/7 without going inside. It’s absolutely imperative that dogs have comfortable, safe places to spend time indoors and outdoors.

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