The start of a new year can feel like a giant blank slate. It’s a great time to take stock of what’s working and change what’s not. If you’re like most people, there are a few things you’d like to do more of, and a few things that you’d like to do less of. If you’re a pet parent, it’s essential to take your furry friend into consideration and plot for a mutually successful new year. There’s a very good chance that when you opt to make changes, your dog will benefit, too. Here are three goals to help you enjoy your best year together yet.
Goal #1: Commit To A Healthy Lifestyle
Jumpstart your new year with a commitment to be healthy. This includes only the best food choices for you and your dog, ample hydration, proper exercise, and care.
Healthy food works wonders. This may feel difficult at first, but in a short amount of time, you will realize how much better you feel when you choose healthy foods over unhealthy foods. You may notice a difference in your dog, too. Offer your dog high-quality commercial food. If you prefer to offer raw food, be sure to ask your veterinarian for recommendations on an appropriate raw food diet for dogs. Scrap the table scraps and scale back the treats. Treats should only account for a very small portion or none of your dog’s daily food intake. More importantly, those treats need to be real dog treats, not human treats. It might surprise you to learn that a dog who consumes a small cookie is actually consuming as many, or more, calories as would be found in an entire meal.
Hydration is the key to good health. Fresh, clean water is one of the keys to good health for humans and dogs alike. Keep your dog’s water bowl clean and filled throughout the day. If you’re planning on spending time outdoors, pack water for a bowl for your dog. You can make an easy water bowl just by recycling a dog food bag.
If you notice that your dog is drinking more water than usual, schedule a visit with your vet. A change in drinking habits can indicate a change in health; the sooner you determine the root of the change, the better.
Proper care requires professionals. A yearly physical is a good idea for both you and your dog. Annual vet visits help you care for your dog in the best way possible because your veterinarian is a professional who has a lot of experience in how to assess your dog’s physical and behavioral health. Talk to your vet about any concerns you may have or changes in your dog’s eating, drinking, sleep, or activity habits. Proper dog health care extends to grooming, too. From bathing and hair brushing to nail clipping and teeth cleaning, your dog will benefit from your, or a groomer’s, regular care. Not only does grooming help you notice subtle changes in your dog’s skin, teeth, ears, eyes, and pads, it also enables you to deepen the bond you share with each other. If you notice any changes while grooming your furry pal, consult with your veterinarian.
Goal #2: Get Outside And Exercise
One of the greatest benefits of pet parenting is that every time your dog goes for a walk, you get to go, too. You don’t need to limit your walks to just around the block, either. Dogs thrive in nature and, given the opportunity, your dog would be more than happy to help you explore the world right outside your door. If you’re hoping to travel more, consider planning nature hikes with your fur friend. There are many apps that can help you find great trails near your home, as well as the other side of the world. Take the time to plan the best route for you and your dog. Make sure that your dog is protected from the elements during a hike, and against parasites like fleas and ticks. Talk to your veterinarian about the best way to protect your furry friend year-round with a product like Bravecto®, so that you can enjoy the trails without worrying about whether or not your dog is picking up any parasites along the way because when you bring fleas and ticks home, you open the door to potentially serious diseases that affect dogs and humans, alike.
Goal #3: Expand Your Pack
Dogs are social creatures, which means they thrive in packs. Whether your pack consists of just you and your dog or other family members, too, think about ways that you can help your dog become a well-socialized pooch. There are easy ways to do this so it’s enjoyable for both of you. You can schedule playtime with friends who have dogs, or you can sign up for training or agility classes at a local training facility. Training offers you the peace of mind that your dog will be able to listen and respond to commands that you’ll use every day, like sit and stay, where as agility can help your dog enjoy mental and physical exercise all in one.
There is another way to extend your pack easily, and that’s to welcome another furry friend into your home. Whether you visit a local animal shelter or reach out to your favourite breeder, your furry friend may benefit from becoming a big brother or sister in your home. If you’re wondering what this might mean for you, just consider twice the love and cuddles you currently receive. That can’t be such a bad thing, can it?
Whatever way you choose to move throughout the new year, make sure the choices you make benefit you both. There’s no doubt that the love you share with one another is to the moon and back, so plot a course that keeps you both healthy and active as you move forward this year.