While every dog is different, there are some preferences and needs that are shared amongst those of the same breed. For example, Labradors are a working breed and highly intelligent. In the past Labrador retrievers helped their masters on hunts and fishing expeditions. Today, they are often trained as sniffer dogs to work with bomb squads, they can be trained to be guide dogs and even therapy dogs. What this means is that the goofy, lovable bundle you have at home has a brain that is capable of a lot more than just plotting to steal treats!
Interesting puzzles: This is why the first thing on our list is puzzles for mental stimulation. When a dog’s mental capacity isn’t being exercised enough, he or she can get bored and this can push them to be destructive at home. Toys like Nina Ottosson’s puzzles, HUFT Snuffle Mats and KONG toys are great for mental stimulation. Just fill them up with treats and let your dog ‘solve’ the puzzle using his or her super sniffer.
A comfy bed: Labs like their snoozies. Some dogs like sleeping curled up and others enjoy stretching out for naps. For the first type of dog, get a doughnut shaped bed and for the latter, a nice comfy lounger bed will do the trick. Some labs like to sleep with their heads slightly elevated – you can get them a bone-shaped cushion for this. On chilly nights add a blanket to raise the snug factor.
HUFT Tip: As labs turn senior, they often develop joint issues. So, if you have a golden oldie, invest in an orthopaedic bed. These offer more support and seniors find it easier to sleep on them.
Chew & rope toys: Labs are strong chewers so getting toys that can match their strength like a KONG’s Extreme range or West Paw is important. Chewing exercises their jaws and relaxes dogs so these are great additions to the toy box. KONG and West Paw toys are also washable so you can keep them clean. Rope toys are popular with labs as well. The strands of thread act as dental floss, scraping plaque and tartar off the teeth as they chew. To some extent, this helps with dental hygiene.
HUFT Tip: Sometimes pets get bored of one or two of their toys. All you have to do is put these away for a few days and reintroduce them at a later date.
Bath essentials: A dog’s skin has a different pH level than ours so using human shampoo on them will damage their skin. Always buy dog shampoo and conditioner for your furries. Natural formulations like the HUFT shampoos are gentler on the skin and coat. A Zoom Groom can be used to work up a lather and also dislodge already shed fur from the coat. Ensure you rinse out shampoo well and let the coat dry completely after the bath. Highly absorbent microfibre towels come in handy for baths.
HUFT Tip: Microfibre towels are useful to give your dog a wipe down after a walk in the monsoons as well.
Walk accessories: Choose the right walk accessories to make these outings with your dog comfortable and safe. Collars can strain the neck if your dog is a puller. Switching to a harness will take the pressure off the neck and distribute it evenly across the body but it won’t necessarily stop your pet from pulling. You can consult a positive reinforcement trainer to understand how to get your dog to stop pulling on walks.
HUFT Tip: One way of making sure your pet’s collar is not too tight is to slip two fingers underneath. If there is enough room for them to fit between the collar and your pet’s coat, the collar isn’t too tight.
ID Tag: An identity tag is one of the most useful and basic safety precautions to take for your pet. This tag can be fixed to your pet’s collar or harness and should contain your contact details as well as your pet’s name. If you ever get separated from your pet, there’s a good chance that a rescuer will be able to reunite you if your pet has an ID tag.
HUFT Tip: Firecrackers cause a great deal of anxiety in pets and some dogs react very strongly to them. Dogs have been known to run out of their houses in a blind panic. People light crackers on a number of different occasions besides Diwali, there’s also New Year and wedding celebrations. It’s best to keep your dog safely indoors and to have his or her ID tag on as a precaution.
Outdoor play: Besides puzzles indoors, Labradors are an energetic breed with a great love for the outdoors. Be sure to add fun, size-appropriate outdoor toys to your pet’s collection. If you’re going on a hike, a Pop Up Collapsible bowl is useful to offer your pet water. A pet mat spread out in the car can protect your seat from scratches.
HUFT Tip: If you regularly take road trips with your dog, a great safety precaution to have is a seat belt for dogs.
Natural tick & flea repellent: If your pet rolls around in the grass often, it’s possible that he or she will pick up a tick or two. This could turn into a full-blown infestation if left unattended. Use natural Anti-tick and Flea repellent spray before going out to play to help prevent ticks from climbing on. Natural Diatomaceous Earth powder is another useful aid.
It’s easy to get lost in the busy-ness of our daily lives and less frequent playtimes with our loyal companions. But the thing that our dogs want most is to spend time with their people. Just to play, laugh and have a good time. Take a little time out to make your pet’s day with a fun game or an interesting experience.