Do you think you have the happiest dog or cat on earth? If so, take a picture of your furry buddy for a chance to win a year of free pet food and a day of ultra-posh pet pampering that includes a professional pet photo shoot and a catered meal with you, their human companion.

To enter Solid Gold Pet’s “Happiest Pets on Earth” contest, follow Solid Gold Pets on Instagram, post an adorable picture of your pet being happy (in the broadest sense of the word; for instance, some pets are very happy, and super cute, when they are sleeping), then share your picture with the hashtag #SolidGoldSmiles, and you’re good to go.

The contest runs from now until November 18th.

What is the key to pet happiness? According to Jen Berglund, director of marketing at Solid Gold Pet, “Healthy makes happy.” And of course, that means feeding Fido and Fluffy well (hey, the brand is trying to sell pet food).

But a nutritious diet is only the beginning. In an interview with Lady Freethinker, Berglund adds, “Activity and human connection are important for pets to be happy. This includes engaging with your pet in their favorite activity, making them a part of your daily routine, and ensuring they get the exercise and overall emotional connection needed to support a healthy mind, body, and spirit.”

When asked about the turnout of entries so far, she said, “We have definitely seen some standout cats and dogs. It’s been fun to see the variety of activities and places where pets find happiness — some are running and playing outside while others are simply snuggling in blankets with their humans.”

Pets have long made their human counterparts happy, so why not return the favor? The website VetStreet.com shares 5 simple ways that you can bring a smile to your four-legged sidekick.

For Cats:

  1. Environmental Enrichments: This can be as simples as moving your furniture around in a new pattern for your cat to explore, or as elaborate as building an indoor or outdoor climbing structure. The idea is to “accommodate a cat’s natural instincts to climb, perch, scratch, and really own her territory.”
  2. Bring the Outdoors In: Get a fresh Cat Grass or Catnip plant. Besides the intoxicating-to-cats smell, they love to munch on the textured grass.
  3. Activity Play: Cats like toys! Kitty laser tag never gets old. Neither does the wand with the feather with the tinkling ball tied to the end of a string. Get your cat to jump, stalk, and attack like they would in the wild.
  4. Challenge Them: Puzzle toys and treat dispensers are a great item to get kitty’s brain fired up for problem solving skills. It also keeps them entertained while you’re away.
  5. Variety: Change it up once in a while. Rotate the cat toys. Put the scratching pad in a different part of the room, move the cat tree to give a different vantage point.

For Dogs:

  1. Food Puzzles: Like cats, dogs benefit from the mental stimulation that food puzzles provide. According to Dr. Sung and VetStreet, these toys “give dogs a great outlet for the energy, both physically and mentally.”
  2. Doggy Playdates: Do what parents of human children do: plan a playdate! If you know someone who has a dog, make plans to meet at a nearby dog park, or bring the dogs to one or the other’s house. You can even try doggy daycare. The point is dogs are extremely social animals and it’s good for them to have an occasional dog-day-out, so they can let their fur down and have some fun with animals of their own kind.
  3. Keep a Schedule: dogs, like children, tend to be less anxious when they know what to expect from a daily routine. Try to walk your dog, or schedule some playtime about the same time each day.
  4. Teach a New Trick: Spending five to ten minutes a day where your dog can focus his attention is bonding time for both of you, and good mental stimulation for the dog. Not to mention, it’s fun to show off both of your hard work when he’s mastered the trick.
  5. Daily Grooming: Brushing feels good. The daily physical contact of a luxurious fur brushing will make him a definitely happy pup indeed.

                          

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