If you’re reading this, then you probably already possess some serious dog parenting skills. And if your pup’s vote was all that mattered, you’d undoubtedly be ranked the world’s best. But, just like babies, dogs don’t come with instruction manuals, and while you may not be getting any complaints now, there are ways to boost your abilities and prevent future issues, enhancing your dog’s life even more.
Why fix what isn’t broken? Because the more we can do to bring about mind-body balance (sama) for our dogs, the more enriched their lives will be. On the flip side, the less stressed we will be as their parents, because let’s face it, every experience is more enjoyable with a healthy, well-behaved, happy dog. Every action taken on their behalf is an investment in the future. When you invest in more valuable levels of conscious pet parenting, you can both reap grand rewards. Here are a few ways to start improving their health and wellbeing right now:
1. Develop Awareness Around Your Dog’s Food
Quality food is essential to a pup’s wellbeing. Proper nutrition has the power to promote and maintain good health. It contributes to a dog’s energy level, mental wellbeing, and overall happiness, and is often the first line of defense against disease. It’s important to do your homework before choosing your dog’s next meal, which can be done in a pretty straightforward manner, and well worth the effort.
Wake up to the reality of the pet food industry by watching Pet Fooled. It will encourage you to look past corporate marketing ploys that use words like “premium”, “gourmet” and “healthy”, and will offer insights about discovering the truth about what’s really in the food you buy. Raise your awareness around what you are actually feeding your dog, and you’ll improve their present and future health exponentially.
2. Look to Yourself for Answers
If your dog is exhibiting a baffling issue, consider looking to yourself for answers. That deep human/canine bond we share can result in a common phenomenon known as mirroring. Basically, we become so enmeshed that we end up reflecting each other in physical and emotional ways. It’s why dogs often share the same allergies, digestive issues, and even mood disorders as their people.
Having this information provides another powerful reason to make your own health and wellbeing a priority. The state of your personal mind and body strongly influences your dog in physical and behavioral ways. Let that be an added incentive to lead a more balanced life. Consider any undesirable mirroring as a sign post directing you both to more vibrant lives.
3. Question Everything
Here’s the truth – your dog is 100% dependent on you. They rely on us for food, water, exercise, safety, play and a lot of love. They also need us to make informed decisions that will allow for their optimal health and wellbeing. This is a serious responsibility that should require you to question standard protocol around pet care. Included in this protocol is recognizing that unnecessary use of chemicals is a dangerous practice.
Western medicine absolutely has its place in canine health, but just because a treatment has been established as a long-term practice doesn't mean it's truly best for your dog. Get expert opinions of course, but in the end, make sure that anything you put in or on your dog is something you have personally researched from different perspectives and feel comfortable approving. In case it helps, we highly recommend using Dr. Peter Dobias as one of your information resources.
4. Shift Your Perspective
By shifting your perspective a bit, your daily walks can become more than just another thing to check off the to-do list. Instead, they become opportunities for peace and healing in your own life. It’s a chance to breathe fresh air, move your body, be present with nature and feel rejuvenated.
These are special moments that you get to share with your dog. Moving towards gratitude and presence will strengthen your connection. In his book Guardians of Being, Eckhart Tolle reminds us that “Just watching an animal closely can take you out of your mind and bring you into the present moment, which is where the animal lives all the time - surrendered to life.” Follow your dog’s lead on the topic of present moment awareness (after all, they are the masters) and take time to smell the flowers. Designate every walk as a time of mindfulness.
5. Seize the Opportunity
Every moment with your canine pal provides an opportunity to be savored. Your dog is your best friend, and just like any other close and special bond, it creates the chance for deepening and improving many areas of your life and your relationships, including the one with yourself. We can "have" a dog as our pet, or we can share our life journey with a special canine companion.
Even though our pups can’t be with us forever in physical form, they live forever in our hearts, along with our memories of them. Cherished memories are created by seizing each precious moment with awareness. Attention to being in the moment will naturally bring about positive change and illuminate what both you and your dog need to live your best lives.
That’s really all it takes to be your personal best as a pet parent – an outward expression of love and gratitude. Show your pup every day that you are happy to be on the journey with them. Your appreciation will manifest every second you spend together. You will likely begin to show up mentally for your walks, want to learn more about what your dog consumes and take better care of yourself to witness that reflected in your pup. Your dog will love you no matter what, but if you incorporate these tips, you will truly be the canine parent your dog always said you were.
Learn more practices and expand your knowledge of natural, soulful care for dogs by attending our upcoming Total Wellbeing for Dogs 6-Week Online Course. It’s like no other! Find out more about it HERE.
NOTE: Above photo by Rebecca Kuritz