Anyone who owns a pet dog will know how much joy the loveable canines can bring into your home.
But how can you make sure your four-legged friend is just as comfortable, happy and content in your home as you are?
To celebrate the return of the world's greatest dog show, Crufts, this week - veterinary surgeon Cat Henstridge has given us the lowdown on all the essentials your dog needs.
What food should you feed your dog?
Cat says, 'The best food for your dog is a high-quality ready-made dog food. It can be tempting to want to home cook a diet for them but it is very difficult to create a well-balanced meal, especially every day!
'Dogs don’t have taste buds like ours and don’t need a variety of foods and flavours to feel satisfied. In fact, regularly varying your dog’s diet can lead to them becoming picky and holding out for their favourites. It's also important to avoid giving your dog any human food, especially scraps from your plate as our meals are often high in fats and salt and it encourages begging.
'Also - some human foods like chocolate, raisins and grapes, are actually poisonous to dogs.'
Top tip: Dogs have a poor sense of taste but strong sense of smell, so if they are refusing their biscuits, add a bit of warm water to them to release the odours! Also try making your dog work for their dinner - instead of feeding your dog meals from a food bowl, use a puzzle bowl instead. These bowls require your dog to figure out how to get to their food, and that means it will take them longer to eat, give them mental stimulation and keep them entertained!'
Try our: Wholesome Hero Complete Pet Food With Chicken & Vegetables
How often should you treat your dog?
Cat tells us, 'Our dogs are great at getting treats out of us (who can resist those big brown eyes?!) but it is important, just like with ourselves, that we don’t indulge them too often. Too many titbits and extras will mean they put on weight and can become spoiled and pushy.
'Use treats to train your dog and reward them for being good. This doesn’t always have to be when they are obeying commands - offering them biscuits when they are calm and relaxed will reinforce that behaviour as well.
Top tip: 'Eating something tasty is also a great way to distract them. If your dog hates visitors or being left, giving them something that will take them time to eat is a brilliant way to take their mind off the stress.'
Try our: Delicious Pedigree Ranchos Dog Treats with Beef. The tender treats are made up of 95% meat and animal derivatives and contain no artificial colours or flavourings.
What toys should you invest in?
It is important to always choose high quality and dog-specific toys for our pets.
Cat says, 'It is fun for them to rip up a teddy bear but it’s not so entertaining if they eat the fluff and it gets stuck inside them.
'Choose toys that encourage your dog to be active. Treat dispenser types will keep them entertained when you are out but ragger ropes, balls and frisbees are all great for you to be able play with them at home and on walks.
Top tip: 'Older dogs might be less active but they still like to play. Puzzle toys (interactive dog doys, where you can often hide treats) will help them exercise their brain but rest their legs.'
How often should you groom them?
Cat explains, 'All dogs, regardless of their coat type, should be brushed regularly; at least a couple of times a week. It helps keep their skin and fur healthy and is a great way to bond with them. Most dogs don’t need regular baths (which is a good thing!) and should only be washed if they have rolled in something particularly smelly.
'If your dog is a shaggy one, then a trip once every 6-8 weeks to a professional groomer will be required to keep them in great condition.
Top tip: 'Most active dogs should wear their nails down naturally and don’t need them trimming, however it is important your pup allows you to handle their feet, so check them regularly anyway.'
Try our: Hartz Groomer's Best Rubber Dog Brush, which is the ultimate de-shedding tool for short and smooth coats. Clean them using our Dog's Life Shampoo and for their paws, rub some balm into them with our Dog's Life Pawfessional Pet Care Kind & Gentle Paw Balm.
What bed is best?
This might not come as a surprise but dogs love a comfy bed to lay their head on after a long day running around exploring, so getting the bedding right is essential.
Cat tells us, 'All dogs should have their own bed but this doesn’t mean they will use it - many love to lounge with us on the sofa, or simply stretch out on the floor.
'Young pups often feel most secure in crates, especially in the first weeks after they have left the litter. Larger breeds and older dogs should have the deepest and most supportive beds possible so they are able to rest their joints properly.'
Top tip: It's also best to make sure your dog's bed is waterproof and washable, so you can wash it to keep it clean and get rid of any odours.