You love your dog so very dearly, and that’s why you want to make sure that you give them absolutely everything possible so that they want for nothing. Many people spoil their pets simply because they can, for this reason! However, your vet will be quick to tell you that some ways that loving pet parents spoil their dogs can end up causing them serious harm.  

How can spoiling your dog harm them?

We think about how we would like to be spoiled when we consider spoiling our dog. This means lots of toys, comfortable beds, love and attention, and treats. We know that, as humans, all of these things would cause us to enjoy our lives a lot more and make us feel like we’re on top of the world. Understandably, we want to share that with our dogs.

Spoiling through toys and comfortable beds is perfectly fine. Your dog won’t suffer (assuming he doesn’t fall into his giant toy box!), and there is no harm possible. But dogs can come to harm if you spoil them using techniques that focus on love and attention and even treats. Understanding the possible dark side of these methods can help each pet parent to make a conscious decision on what is going to be best for their pet from this careful point of view.

What kind of harm is possible through love and attention?

It seems strange that loving our dogs through attention and fussing could be harming them, but it’s true! When we over-love our dogs, we can set them up for a lot of emotional and mental health issues, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Separation anxiety
  • Lack of understanding of boundaries
  • Aggression

Dogs who don’t have boundaries can’t understand what they are or why they’re important.

Setting boundaries and rules for their behavior helps them to understand that you are in charge and taking care of them, not the other way around. Anxiety in general and separation anxiety are both common, too, since dogs will feel very distressed when their loving human disappears and leaves them entirely alone with no one to love them. Dogs who get proper attention, but not overdone, don’t have the same issue with being alone in most cases.

What kind of harm is possible through treats?

Many people know that there are a lot of risk possibilities through treats, be they human foods or dog foods. Some of these include:

  • Obesity
  • Malnutrition
  • Lack of dental hygiene
  • Sugar overload
  • Salt toxicity

Dogs have a much lower tolerance for treats and other goodies than many people understand, so we unknowingly overdose our dogs just because we want it to make sure they know that they are loved and spoiled. “All things in moderation” is a good approach to take for your dog’s overall health and safety!

How can I spoil my dog responsibly?

If you want to take a responsible approach to spoil your pet, this is a wonderful approach to pet care! Here are some suggestions for doing it right:

  • Buy him puzzle mats and intellectual toys: To help curb any anxiety when left alone or otherwise away from you as you go about your day, you can invest in good quality toys that stimulate your dog’s mind and attention. These help them stay active, which helps them enjoy better health. They also will support a healthy distraction in your dog. This distraction occupies their mind and keeps them from getting anxious so that they are happy even when you are not with them.
  • Buy high-quality food and treats: Instead of going for the cheap, low-grade food and treats, go for the high-quality stuff that your vet is always recommending. Yes, it’s expensive, and your dog may not like those healthy treats as much as the ones that you were buying (since it’s basically junk food versus healthy food), but it’s better for your dog. That’s right, spoiling your dog can mean doing things that they may not like quite as much because it’s what’s best for them.
  • Take him for walks: Dogs love walks, as you likely already know! If you take them for long, healthy walks, they’ll feel like the luckiest dog in the world. Even if it’s just around the block or across a park, they’ll be content. They get to explore new smells and take on new sights, and they’re doing it all with their favorite humans right there along for the ride. Added bonus: it’s healthy for you too!
  • Teach advanced agility and obedience training: Basic obedience training is obviously required for a well-behaved dog, but did you know that advanced agility and advanced obedience training can be a great way to show your love for your dog? Dogs want nothing more than to please their humans, and successful learning and completing a trick or following commands will make them delirious with joy. The more that you teach, the more that they can enjoy this!
  • Keep his health firmly in check: A healthy dog is a happy dog. Keep your dog’s mental, emotional, and physical health front of mind when making decisions so that you can always find a way to give them as healthy a life as possible. This is going to be key to a happy and fulfilling life, too. Even if your dog doesn’t understand how your care led to it, he’ll still be more spoiled because he gets more years with you!

Does my dog know how much I love him when I spoil him?

This will do your heart some good: yes, your dog knows how much you love him when you spoil him. When you spoil him responsibly, such as the suggestions above, you’ll show your dog just how much you do love him through tailored spoiling that will really communicate your true sentiments to your pet.

Show your dog that you love them by taking a focused approach to how you spoil them. It’ll help them to understand how much you care just as you want them to understand, and you’ll know that you aren’t putting their health at risk to do it, either!

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