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Top Tips for looking after your family pooch!

Do your family love their four-legged puppy friend(s)? Then these Play, Eat and Train tips from the Purina P.E.T. Project are a must read.

Top Tips on Play, Eat and Train
Does your family have a pup that they totally adore? Then make sure you check out these handy hints from the Purina P.E.T. Project on how to help your canine friend get the most out of their time spent playing, eating and training. After all, a happy dog makes for a happy family!

The Purina P.E.T. Project is an initiative from Nestle Purina PetCare and Woolworths to support pet owners in taking active measures to help improve their pets’ health and happiness. The campaign aims to recruit 10,000 Australian pet owners to ‘take the pledge’ for their pets to play more, eat healthier and train better.

You can register your clan at www.purinapetproject.com.au

Play
As pet owners, it’s important to make sure you enjoy regular playtimes with your dogs as it’s a vital part of a canine’s overall mental and physical health:

  • Tailor your play time around your breed of dog. Some dogs have inherited their favourite pastimes; terriers love to dig; hounds with a sharp sense of chase prefer sharp bursts of exercise; and working dogs enjoy canine sports.
  • Keep it interesting. If you regularly run or walk together, vary the route.
  • Rotate toys and try new ones to keep them actively playing. A toy that disperses treats is a good way to get a food-motivated dog to play. Hide and seek with toys is fun for indoor pets.

Eat
To help your pet live a long and happy life, it’s important to keep them at their optimal weight:

  • Think before you treat. For small dog breeds, two rashers of bacon is equivalent to 17 scoops of ice cream. Check the calories before feeding your dog a human treat.
  • Match diet to breed and pet size to ensure it receives the right nutrition. As your pet grows and matures, its nutritional requirements change with its life stages.
  • Human food is for humans. Keep human food and snacks to a minimum. Pets may become dependent which can lead to bad behaviour and begging, and cause them to refuse to eat their own more complete balanced dog food.
  • Follow a calorie matched diet. Treats from our own plates provide extra calories that adds up to extra kilos. An overweight pet may be susceptible to health problems such as diabetes, joint issues and an overall reduced life span, so keep the calories under control.
  • Don’t underfeed. Some pets need more food, requiring diets rich in calories to encourage their weight gain.
  • Always check with your vet before undertaking a weight loss or gain regime, or changing your pet’s diet.

Train
From puppy through to adult, dedicating time to train your dog improves their mental and physical health, as well as their quality of life.

  • A puppy’s critical socialisation period extends from 3 to 14 weeks when they pick up cues on how to communicate with other dogs.
  • Begin training indoors for as little as 5 minutes a day and gradually build up to outdoors for longer durations with more distractions.
  • Teach them to come. A pet that responds both to their name and to commands can help it stay clear from impending danger and possibly save its life.
  • Practice positive reinforcement. Reward-based training enhances the owner/pet relationship; verbal or physical praise such as a pat or a hug is preferable to tasty treats.
*Image by Tina Phillips, from FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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