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5 Essential Tips for First-Time Dog Owners

5 Essential Tips for First-Time Dog Owners

Taking your first dog home is probably one of the most exciting moments of your life. Not only have you given this pup the awesome new home it deserves, but you’ve also acquired a furry best friend and partner in crime who will stick by your side through thick and thin. Although you’re currently in what’s much like a honeymoon phase for new pet parents, you’ll quickly realize that there is a lot more that goes into providing for this adorable little ball of fur than you might have thought.

Owning a dog is a big commitment that comes with some big responsibilities. This little creature now relies on you to be the sole provider of care, nutrition, entertainment, and love for the rest of its life. Although there’s a lot of work that goes into your newfound role as a pet parent, the benefits will far outweigh any potential drawbacks.

Here are a few tips to help you get your relationship with your new dog started off on the right foot!

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1. Pay attention to feeding guidelines

Many assume that you can take a random approach to feeding your dog. The problem with feeding your dog at random is that you risk the chance of under- or overfeeding your pup, which could lead to healthcare issues in the future.

To ensure that you’re feeding your dog the proper amount each day, check out an online guide to find the feeding requirements for your pet according to its specific needs. Pet Food Chat offers up an excellent guide that discusses pet food types and proper feeding portions that can help you come up with a healthy diet plan for your dog.

2. Start potty training ASAP

Although it may be tempting to get a bit lax in your potty training schedule as your new dog gets acquainted with your home, it is absolutely essential that you create a potty training regime and stick to it – especially in the developmental phases of your dog’s relationship with you and your home.

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If you haven’t potty trained a pet before, you’ll want to check out a guide or two to make sure you create an effective training schedule. Pet MD and The Humane Society both have pretty solid guides for housetraining a new puppy.

3. Enlist help when necessary

Sometimes one of the most difficult things for humans to admit is that we need a little help. Although you might think you can manage most challenges your new dog presents, some situations might require a little help from an outside source.

If you’re having trouble with the housebreaking process or are finding that your pup is destroying your house while you’re gone, you might want to look into hiring a pet sitter or a doggy daycare service to help you out. You can use locator sites like FindDoggyDaycare.com or PetSit.com to find pet care help in your area.

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4. Introduce your pup to other humans and animals

Socializing your new dog will seriously benefit you later. By introducing your dog to new people and pets now, you significantly increase its ability to have healthy interactions with others at parks and guests in your home later on.

Many choose to dive right into the socializing process by taking their pets to a park to socialize with other humans and animals right off the bat. However, experts recommend creating a socializing plan to make the process safer and more effective. Nylabone offers a dog training guide that can help you build an effective socializing strategy for your dog.

5. Respect the leash law

Few things are more fun than watching your dog run around and entertain itself for hours on end. Although it’s plenty fine to let your dog roam freely in a leashless dog park or in your own back yard, abiding by the leash laws where they are enforced is extremely important when it comes to ensuring the safety of yourself, your dog, and other people and other animals around you.

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If simply stating that leashing your dog when and where necessary will help you protect yourself and others isn’t enough to convince you to keep your dog on a leash sometimes, I encourage you to check out Vet Changes World’s breakdown of the top five reasons you should leash your dog where the leash law is enforced.

Now that you’ve got the important guidelines down, it’s time to get to the fun part which is watching your dog grow and become accustomed to its new home. If you have any questions or perhaps a tip you’d like to share with other readers, post away in the comments below!

Featured photo credit: Pexels via static.pexels.com

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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