The different ways to keep your dog happy and healthy

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Keep your loveable pup in the best of health with these top tips…

If you want your family dog to be happy and well-behaved, then keeping him healthy and fit is the best place to start. Here's how…

1. Walks and games

An active dog is a happy dog. The more you exercise and play with him, the better behaved he'll be – and you'll reduce the chances of bored behaviour (like shredding cushions!). Exercise will also help to keep your pup’s weight within a healthy range, and boost overall fitness.

Depending on age, breed and size, your dog should have between half an hour to two hours of exercise per day. Some dogs may need extra care when planning exercise, so talk to your vet if you have concerns.

2. A nutritious diet

Feeding your dog high-quality, well-balanced meals is essential. Pedigree® recommends feeding your dog 50 per cent wet food and 50 per cent dry food, which will give him different health benefits, tastes and textures. Treats are a great way of bonding with your pet and act as a good reward for good behaviour, but should only make up 10 per cent of your dog's daily calories.

3. Personal space

All dogs need a place to call their own, where they can sleep, relax and take time out. Keep his bed or basket in a particular place, and wash the bedding regularly on a hot wash setting to keep it clean.

4. Healthy teeth

A dog’s oral health is something many owners overlook, but it’s incredibly important if you want to avoid future health problems. Daily tooth-brushing is the very best thing you can do to look after your dog's teeth. Dog dental care chews such as Pedigree® Dentastix are also avaiable. Giving your dog one of these every day is scientifically proven to reduce tartar by up to 80%.

5. Good company

All experts say the same thing – the more you socialise your dog, the happier and well balanced he'll be. Dogs need company, and thrive on mental and physical stimulation, so make sure you don't leave him alone for long periods. Dog walkers and minders can step in if you're working, but young dogs especially can become distressed and show destructive behaviour if left alone for any length of time.

6. Regular grooming

Even smooth-coated dogs need regular grooming, and a serious weekly brushing is a must for long-haired pups. It's also a good time to note any new lumps, bumps, scabs or irritated skin, so that you can bring them to your vet’s attention.

Professional grooming services can wash, cut and clip dog's coats and this is particularly important for breeds that have coats that need special attention. Don't forget your pet's monthly flea and worming treatments as recommended by your vet's to keep him happy and comfortable - and keep his vaccinations up to date.

7. Give rewards

Good behaviour should be rewarded, and this is especially important when you're training a puppy or trying to change difficult behaviour. Choose specially-designed dog treats, like the range from Pedigree®. They'll go down a treat, and you'll know they have nutritional benefits as well as helping with your training programme. Sorted!