Getting ready for your New Year’s resolutions? Most of us will set new goals involving ways to live healthier, happier, more successful lives in 2018. But why not expand the list this year to include resolutions for your dog? Here are a few ideas to make 2018 the healthiest year ever for you and your dog.
Measure Your Dog’s Food. It’s estimated that over 50% of our pets are overweight, so this simple discipline can help us make sure they’re only getting the calories they need. Eyeballing the amount of food we pour into their bowls usually results in overfeeding and weight gain, so set up your feeding system to include an 8 ounce measuring cup. Start by using the recommended feeding guidelines, but also keep a weekly weight log to keep an eye on any weight changes.
Choose the Right Diet. Talk to your vet about the right kind of food for your dog’s age, health conditions and energy requirements. Choosing the appropriate food for your dog’s life stage will ensure he grows healthy and strong and maintains optimal health throughout his lifetime.
Find New Physical Activities. The benefits of dog exercise are obvious, but your dog can get bored with routine, so try something new next year. Maybe 2018 is the year to discover new hiking paths, or try your hand (and paw) at kayaking. It will get you both out of the house for some much-needed fresh air and bonding time. Look for other pet groups to join in the fun.
Make More Time to Play. Find new toys or activities to engage your dog in fun-filled exercise. Simple tugging ropes are great for muscle building. With so many new products coming on the market each year, take your dog on a shopping trip to see what may trip his trigger. Or find a pet park buddy and set up regularly scheduled “dates.” It’s so much easier to stay on schedule if you’re meeting up with someone.
Get a Vet Checkup. Many diseases that develop with age are more easily managed when detected early, so start the year off right by scheduling an annual checkup. It’s the cornerstone of proactive, preventive care and a great time to go over any health or behavioral issues. As your dog becomes a senior, you may want to schedule a vet visit every six months.
Update Your Dog’s Tags. Make sure your dog’s tags have your current contact information, and if your dog has a microchip or GPS-equipped collar, update that contact information as well. It’s the best way to ensure a safe return of your dog if he gets lost.
Brush Your Dog Daily. Grooming your dog daily with a comb or brush will not only reduce the amount of shedding around the house, it will also keep their coat shiny by distributing the oil from their skin to their hair. Plus, grooming is another great way to bond with your dog.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene. Keeping your dog’s teeth healthy from an early age will help prevent tartar and plaque buildup which may lead to tooth disease down the road. Brush their teeth daily with a dog-appropriate toothpaste, and add a dental treat or dental toy to your routine. Your vet will check your dog’s teeth at the annual checkup and let you know if a dental cleaning process is needed.
Engage Your Dog’s Brain. Mental stimulation has been shown to reduce cognitive deterioration as dogs age, so find some new tricks and games to play to keep them at the top of their game. Puzzle feeders will keep them occupied and focused on getting to the reward at the end.
Foster a Pet. If you’re considering dog adoption, but not 100% sure it is the right decision for you, try fostering a dog. Your local shelters would love your help giving some of their animals a safe, temporary living place while they wait for their forever home. You’ll be providing a loving environment for a pet in need, and it may turn out to be a perfect match for you!
This blog is brought to you by Under the Weather®, provider of freeze-dried bland diets for dogs. If your dog has a temporary bout of vomiting or diarrhea during the holidays, your vet may recommend giving them a “bland diet” until their digestive systems return to normal. Until now, this required you to cook chicken and rice. With Under the Weather’s bland diets there is no more cooking – just add water!
Under the Weather is also an avid supporter of finding homes for shelter dogs. We finance the Ruffy Rescue Transport Fund to cover the transport cost of bringing dogs from overpopulated kill shelters to Vermont for adoption. A portion of every dollar in sales is channeled to supporting this cause as well as financing the spaying and neutering fees of shelter animals. Get to know more about Ruffy.
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