How to Cultivate a Healthy Family — Starting With Your Fur Child

When you have a family, one of your main concerns is keeping them healthy. It's a never-ending battle to fight against germs and viruses, but one part of your home may already improve your family's health without you even realizing it.

If you have a family dog, you're already benefiting from their presence. They provide constant love to you and your kids, but they also make life a bit easier by helping everyone stay healthy and happy.

Check out how you can cultivate a healthy family, starting with your fur child. By doing these easy tips, your family will live better lives, and your dog will, too.

1. Wash Your Dog Regularly

No matter what you do for a living or how big your family is, your life is busy. You have daily to-do lists constantly changing, after-school activities to drive the kids to and household responsibilities to take care of. It's a lot to have on your plate all at once, which is why dog owners sometimes forget to bathe their pups.

Even though dogs don't need to bathe every day like most humans do, it's still important to wash them at least once a month, if not twice. You'll keep dirt and grime out of your home, which means there are less bacteria to fight.

Your family will also benefit from the excess dog hair going down the drain. When your dog gets a bath, loose fur gets washed away, which would otherwise end up on your furniture and clothes. This sometimes triggers allergies for kids because of the proteins produced in dog fur.

Dogs can be bathed weekly if needed, but use a sensitive skin shampoo to avoid stripping their skin of its natural oils. Brushing pooches daily will prevent allergic reactions from occuring and keep your home clean.

2. Exercise Them Often

Dogs of varying ages and breeds need different levels of activity, but all of them should exercise often. Consider how old your dog is and what kind of breed they are to determine how much playtime they should get.

High-energy breeds like border collies will need to get outside much more than a bulldog, although a puppy won't be able to run the three-mile jog that their older sibling might do.

Exercising your dog often helps them stay fit and healthy, but it also benefits your kids, too. When children take their pups outside for a walk, run or a trip to the park, they get their one hour of exercise that every kid needs at a minimum every day. Ask your kids to take the family dog for a walk so everyone benefits from the extra time outside.

3. Feed Them Nutritious Food

Deciding what kind of food to feed your dog is a big decision that doesn't have an easy answer. Depending on your dog's age, activity level and breed, they will need a personalized diet that still meets their nutrition needs. A good way to determine their diet is to look for whole food ingredients and research the brands you buy, so you know they're made ethically and not just for profit.

The more time you spend looking into healthy food for your dog, the more encouraged you'll be to serve nutritious meals to your family. While you consider whole foods in your dog's diet, you'll become more open to the idea of feeding your kids better-quality items, too. One healthy habit often results in more long-term ones, so starting with your dog's lifestyle is an easy way to transition your family's as well.

4. Let Them Socialize

Dogs need socialization. The wolves they're descended from were pack animals, so they are happier with either more pooches around them or more people.

On your own, you may not feel inclined to socialize every day, but your family dog will encourage that to change. Every time you take your pup to the park or for a walk, they're easing you out of social isolation and improve your mental health. This fact is why dogs are often used to cure loneliness in seniors who live alone or in nursing homes. Enjoy this same benefit in your own life by taking your pooch out to socialize frequently.

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5. Comb for Bugs

Dogs bring joy to any house they live in, but they may also bring in the occasion group of pests. When they go outside, certain bugs like to hitch a ride in their fur because they're warm and a good place to breed.

Take care of your home and your dog by combing through their fur frequently. One of the most common pests to find is the flea, which can do major damage to your family's health. Fleas may carry the plague and typhus, as well as other diseases your family wouldn't otherwise come in contact with.

While you pet your dog, keep an eye out for any dark spots or lumps and feel for bugs with your fingers. Consult your vet if you have any concerns about the pests on your pooch. As long as you pay attention to what's in your dog's fur, you'll save your family from dealing with illnesses.

Enjoy Time With Your Dog

Any family that has a dog knows what a joy they can be to both adults and kids. As long as you're taking care of them by watching for pests, bathing them regularly and socializing them as much as possible, you'll cultivate a healthy household.

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