January 14, 2016
Categories: Animal Behavior

Looking for an easy way to enhance the well being of your dog and yourself this New Year? Simply resolve to play!

Just as with children, play for dogs isn’t only about having fun. In fact, play is as essential for dogs’ health and well being as it is enjoyable. Now is the perfect time to make play a priority for your pup!

Brenda Griffin, DVM, MS, DACVIM, is a big believer in the many benefits of play for dogs, and calls it “the best medicine.”

“Play is enriching – physically, emotionally and socially,” she says. Specifically, play reduces stress while enhancing social skills, training/learning, and emotional state and welfare.

While play is crucial for your dog, he or she isn’t the only one who will benefit from a game of fetch. “Playing is a fundamental behavioral need for all of us – and when we find ways to play with a dog, it is an incredible way to connect with them!”

Every dog is different, of course, something Dr. Griffin reminds us to keep in mind. “The effort invested in finding what ‘works’ for a dog (i.e., what gets them playing) is well worth it.” It doesn’t have to be complicated. Find a toy your dog likes and try a game of fetch, tug or chase and see how they respond. Many dogs enjoy food games, too.

So, what are you waiting for? Let the games begin!

Don’t have a dog of your own? Resolve to play with a shelter dog near you! Playing with shelter dogs does wonders for their chances of getting adopted. Saving lives has never been so fun!

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