This is that time of year when we’re all filled with good intentions to make a fresh start in the New Year with all those new year’s resolutions we definitely intend to keep this time! So here’s a list of resolutions you need to make to keep your best furry friends happy and healthy all year long.
1. Annual vet check up
Schedule an appointment with your vet early in the new year for a general check up. That way your vet can give you some pointers on what you may need to work on during the year to improve your dog’s health. And you can get their annual vaccinations up to date as well.
2. Loose weight
Obesity is one of the fastest growing health problems for dogs with an estimated 44% of dogs being overweight. Consider putting your dog on a diet, or weight control food if necessary. Watch the portion sizes and try to increase exercise.
3. Spay or neuter your dog
Not only is this vital “birth control” to help reduce the unwanted and homeless dog population, but also has health benefits for your dog. It reduces the risk of cancers such as testicular, mammary or uterine cancer. Marking will no longer be a problem and it will vastly reduce inter-dog aggression (in both males and females).
4. Parasite control
Prevention is always better, and easier, than cure. There are many topical monthly or bi-monthly treatments available. Or you may chose to use pills or collars or other methods. But if you start at the beginning of the year it’s easy to keep track of when you need to do it again.
5. Try a new activity with your dog
This can benefit both of you! You get to learn something new, meet new people, and dogs! And it will give both of you a health boost. Any new activity is mentally stimulating to your dog. Consider hiking, roller blading, sledding (especially now!)
6. More play time
Dogs love playing! New research is also showing that it’s good for adults to learn how to play again too. So a little extra play time is good for everyone. It also adds to the amount of exercise your pet gets, as well as one on one attention from you which will strengthen the bond between you.
7. Groom your dog more regularly
More regular grooming has many health benefits for your dog. Brushing removes dead hair, loose dirt and stimulates the skin. This is good for your clothes and furniture too! Nails that are too long can make walking uncomfortable. Regular ear cleaning reduces chances of ear infections. Grooming is also a great bonding time for you and your dog.
8. Start an oral hygiene routine
Regular tooth brushing helps keep plaque from forming which can lead to gum disease and other health problems. Specially designed dental dog food and treats are also available.
9. Up-date ID info
Make sure the information on your dog’s collar, tags or microchip are current and accurate.
10. Reassess the dog food you’re using
As dogs age and their life style changes their nutritional requirements change. And dog food manufacturers are continually bringing out new products and improving existing products.
11. Pet insurance
Consider signing up for pet insurance to help pay for the best possible health care for your dog. Or perhaps start a pet savings fund for unexpected emergencies.
12. Teach an old dog new tricks
Stimulating an older dog’s mind helps keep them young and alert. It’s also a good idea to brush up on previously learnt obedience training as a well behaved dog is always easier to handle.