Five minutes a day makes a happier dog and healthier you. Hectic days are crowded with work, tasks, family, friends and chores, but take five minutes for the dog that centers its world on you. Find your comfort zone and set the timer for Dog Time.
Touch – Take a five-minute chunk or one-minute sessions. Give your dog a wake-up dog massage or an extra pat. Physical hand-to-dog contact is as simple as smoothing out rumpled hair, rubbing dog muscles, or towel-rubbing wet feet. Scratch ears, under the chin, or at the itchy spot above the tail.
Play – Some dogs are touch-me-nots, but thrive on games. Find out if your dog likes stuffed toys, balls, squeakers or tug ropes. Use five play minutes for dog-person interaction. Some dogs are happiest when you knot a tennis ball in your old sock or t-shirt and give it a fling. Check out shops for Planet Dog and other sturdy toys.
Exercise – Couch potato or dock jumper, every dog needs exercise to keep blood flowing and joints lubricated. Exercise can be vigorous or casual. Walk a mile with a young and energetic dog or dawdle around the bushes with a senior. You and the dog can fit five minutes into each day for an outdoor walk or an indoor romp.
Groom – You may prefer five minutes in a hands-on inspection. Groom your dog and check for skin, hair or pesky bugs. Use a soft brush or smooth-tip comb for removing loose hair and debris. Or spend five minutes on dental care and other vet-recommended hygiene. If your dog is nervous or stressed, use a grooming glove or old towel for a friendly stroking. It stimulates skin and distributes skin oil.
Train – Practice basic obedience or learning new tricks. Keep the five-minute sessions fun. Training or learning games teach the dog to focus on you and you to pay attention to your dog.
The National Institutes of Health reports people who own a dog get more exercise and other social and physical benefits, helping them live healthier and happier lives. Spend five minutes with your dog and enjoy the great rewards.