More Than Annual Vet Checks!
Keeping our dog healthy, safe and happy is so much more than piling them in the car once or twice a year for their checkups at the Veterinarian. Yes, those checkups are essential to our dog's overall health, but what do we do the rest of the days of the year? Just like humans, dogs have various needs that contribute to their quality of life. Your dog relies on you to provide the care and safety they need to live a happy, well balanced companion.
Developed by Linda Michaels, M. A., Psychology and adapted from Maslow's Hierarchy of (human) Needs, the Hierarchy of Dog Needs show here is a great tool for ensuring that you are meeting ALL your dog's needs. It is not enough that we take care of their biological needs! While important for survival, these are just the basics.
Before I touch on the other needs, I want to take a moment to talk about one biological need that, in my experience, many people don't fully realize...sleep! Did you know that dogs tend to need MORE sleep than humans in a 24 hour period? Sleep needs differ based on age, breed, activity level, and individual which is probably why there is such variety when it comes to the literature. For adult dogs, sleep requirements can be as low as 8 hours and as high as 16. There does seem to be agreement that puppies and seniors require more (18-20hrs). Making sure that your dog is getting the sleep and rest that they need can prevent unwanted behaviors. Just like humans, dogs can get irritable and unpredictable when they are sleep deprived.
In addition to biological needs, our beloved dogs have other needs. My goal is that my dogs do more than just survive, I want them to thrive! For dogs, structure is very beneficial. You get to pick what structure means for your family and then BE CONSISTENT. A simple example is feeding.