Samantha is part of the Just Right® by Purina® blogger community. All experiences and honest opinions are her own. We asked Samantha to talk about the unique relationship she shares with her dog, Paddington. The result is a post with some tips every dog owner can do to help their dog live happy and healthy.

How I help my dog live happy & healthy

This summer, we celebrated Paddington’s 8th birthday - how time flies! It seems like only yesterday we welcomed her into our lives. We typically celebrate with a doggy-safe cake, a few furry friends, and a day spent doing things that Paddy loves (walk on the beach, snuggling on the couch, and special treats!).

Not only is Paddy’s birthday a great excuse for a “paw-ty,” it is also a wonderful opportunity to make sure that we are making decisions that will help her lead her best life, regardless of age. While we use this annual event to ask ourselves these questions, there’s no reason not to review these questions regularly:

Is my pet eating the right diet?

Just like humans, as they age, dogs and cats have different dietary needs. While your pet may still love what they’re eating, it’s important to check that they are getting the right nutrition for their current life stage. Though Paddy’s energy level hasn’t changed much, she definitely has different needs when it comes the right set of ingredients to keep her coat glossy and shiny. Choosing a personalized blend like Just Right, which is formulated based on your pet's unique requirements, is also a great way to make sure your dog is getting appropriate nutrition. Just Right also offers the ability to adjust your blend seasonally if for example your dog is more active in summer vs. winter. Serving sizes also change based on your pet’s age and activity level, so don’t forget to make sure you’re feeding the correct amount!

How good are my pet’s pearly whites looking?

Dental health is an area that tends to get neglected when it comes to our furry friends. Keeping that smile in tip-top shape is super important, as bacteria and infections in the mouth can affect your pet’s overall health. If you don’t already have a dental hygiene routine in place (we regularly brush!), talk with your veterinarian about what makes the most sense for your pet. (We also use Paddy's birthday as a reminder that we need to schedule our annual veterinarian visit.)

Does my pet get enough exercise?

The benefits of exercise - both physical and mental - are also true for your pet. Living in New York, it was easy to make excuses to not go on a long walk each day (it’s too cold, it’s too hot, it’s too wet, it’s too muggy…). However, since being in California, we’ve settled into a routine where we walk at least a mile each afternoon. Not only has been a nice way for us to spend more time with Paddy, but we’ve also noticed that the three of us are looking a lot trimmer!

These questions may seem pretty obvious and straightforward, but it never hurts to ask yourself (or your veterinarian) every now and then. Even the littlest lifestyle change can make a huge impact, and if it means Paddington gets lots of extra birthdays, count us in!

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Like Samantha, you too can help your dog live happy and healthy.

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Check out more of Samantha and Paddington on her blog, Barkzilla.