How Smiley the blind therapy dog is helping to educate about dogs with unique needs

Meet Smiley, the Blind Therapy Dog That Helps Children Read

It's summertime and the sun is shining -- and not a single one of us wants to be indoors. And that includes your dog!

We sat down with Royal Canin Scientific Services Manager and veterinarian Dr. Laura Pletz (and an Instagram-famous special guest!) to talk about summer safety with your pet, treats and more.

The top activities Dr. Pletz recommends in the warm summer months are walks, hikes, and swimming if your dog is comfortable with it. Just be sure you keep your pup cool with plenty of fresh water and breaks if he needs them. Another great tip is to get out early -- or late -- with your dog. The middle of the day is always the hottest, so if you go for a morning walk, your dog is likely to be much happier.

Other than protecting your dog from the heat, fleas and ticks, you also want to pay close attention to his or her nutrition. No two dogs are the same, and they each have individual needs.

There's no brand ambassador quite like one who lights up a room just by being there, bringing smiles to everyone that meets him. So when we learned that Smiley, the sweetest blind therapy dog out of Ontario, Canada, had found a new favorite treat, we wanted to know why.

Smiley is a Golden Retriever who was born without eyes and dwarfism, so he's a bit smaller than most goldens. He was rescued from a puppy mill when he was one or two years old. He has this incredible calming presence -- hence his role as a therapy dog with St. John Ambulance in his hometown -- and seems like he's just the happiest guy around. His family loves him, and so does his town... He was just awarded citizen of the year!

Giving your dog a treats is one of those crucial bonding moments -- whether you're training a puppy and she just learned to "shake" or you just want to give your dog a yummy reward for being so cute. They love them, and they'll love you even more for it.

Some dogs (like Smiley) have stomach issues and sensitivities, even allergies, and cannot eat regular treats. So what's a dog mom to do? Yes, giving pets treats like blueberries and carrots is okay, in moderation! -- but Dr. Pletz told us that the fully balanced treats you buy for Fido are better. They're formulated specifically for him. And now there's a special variation for dogs like Smiley that are gentle on the stomach.

Find out more about the variety of specially formulated foods by Royal Canin and watch our full interview here.

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