We all promise to make changes as we welcome the new year. So, why shouldn’t our pets do the same? Making a New Year’s resolution is a great way to create a positive lifestyle change, and since our pets are like family, it seems only right that we help them improve their health and happiness too.
Here, we’ve looked at a mix of possible canine resolutions that are ideal for making a dog’s life better. Whether you want your pooch to get fit or think they could benefit from learning a new trick or two, these canine resolutions are sure to help your dog lead a better life in 2018.
Improve their diet
Are you giving your pet the nutrition it needs? There’s such a huge variety of dog foods available today, it’s not surprising that many of us aren’t choosing the best one. If your pooch has put on weight recently, is lacking in energy or doesn’t have the same thick and shiny coat it once had, it could be down to their diet.
According to the FEDIAF — European Pet Food Industry Federation — dogs need 37 essential nutrients (including vitamins, fatty acids and amino acids) in their daily food intake. This year, why not research which pet food has everything your dog needs to lead a healthy life? Options such as grain-free dog food, can provide more energy than standard dog food. Plus, it can help your dog stay fuller for longer — a major advantage if you’re trying to help your dog lose weight as part of their canine resolution!
Promise yourself that this year, you’ll choose healthy dog treats and not your own leftovers when you want to reward your dog. Buy a measuring cup when filling their bowl to ensure you don’t overfeed them and remember the following foods are poisonous to dogs and should not be in their diet:
- Cheese and milk.
- Grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas.
Help them get more exercise
According to a ComRes report, getting more exercise is the most popular New Year’s resolution — for humans, at least. However, losing weight and becoming fitter are just as important to a dog’s quality of life as it is to yours.
Treat your dog to new toys to make your daily walks more fun and active, or promise yourself to spend an extra 15 minutes every day throwing a ball for them in the back garden. Pick a new place to take your pooch every couple of weeks, like a wooded area or around a lake,to make your walks interesting; or look for places that offerdog swimming sessions. Swimming is one of the best forms of cardio exercise. Water resistance strengthens and tones your dog’s muscles, and one minute of swimming equals four minutes of running, according to specialists.
Exercise holds back premature ageing in animals and helps to reduce the risk of your dog developing arthritis, diabetes and obesity — all big and common problems for canines. So, increasing how much activity your dog does every day is a great canine resolution to help prolong their life.
Schedule regular grooming sessions
If you have a dog that needs professional grooming, then you’re probably used to taking them for a bath and haircut at regular intervals. But even short-haired pets need grooming attention to keep their coat strong and healthy.
In 2018, pledge to bath your dog once a month and brush their fur every other day. You might not know it, but regular brushing offers a host of health benefits, including aerating the fur to help it grow, improving blood circulation and removing grease. The action is also thought to reduce stress levels in dogs and can prevent skin complaints (caused by matted hair) from occurring.
Bath time isn’t a popular activity for many dogs, so this might be one of the toughest canine resolutionsfor them to stick to this year. But considering it could save you money on professional grooming and help improve the health and comfort of your pet, it’s worth persevering.
Teach them a new trick
Prove the adage wrong and teach your dog a few new tricks in 2018. Dogs have the ability to get just as bored as we do, so they’re sure to be up for this canine resolution if it means spending more time with you while doing something productive.
Why not begin by teaching them to high-five? This trick is a real crowd-pleaser and it’s a reasonably simple one to get your pooch started. Once they’ve mastered this, teach them how to put away their own toys and then, if you’re both up to the challenge, take it up a gear by teaching them how to ‘tuck themselves in’ by grabbing a blanket and rolling over.
From opening doors without your help to ringing a bell when they want to go for a walk, there are lots of fun tricks dogs are capable of learning. Even though some require a lot of input from you, learning new tricks is a great way to bond with your dog and keep them mentally active in 2018.
Pet therapy volunteering
Canine resolutions aren’t always about improving your pets physical and emotional wellbeing, they can also involve helping others. If your dog loves people and has a good temperament, why not team up and join an animal therapy programme and make it a joint New Year’s resolution?
Organisations, such as Pet Partners, help volunteers and their pets visit schools, hospitals and assisted-living facilities to improve lives through the human-animal bond. This is called pet therapy and medical experts believe that it’s extremely effective in improving emotional, mental and physical recovery rates. Some of the benefits include: decreasing blood pressure, lifting spirits, encouraging communication, increasing joint movement, lowering anxiety, and improving focus and self-confidence.
In 2018, joining a pet therapy programme can help your dog make a difference — and enjoy more opportunities for socialising in the process.
Set you and your pet a challenge in 2018 with one of these canine resolutions — good luck!