Animals: Choose the perfect New Year’s resolution for your dog

Tuesday, 30 January 2018
Since we always feel the urge, or the guilt, to make a New Year’s Resolution, why shouldn’t our dogs follow suit? 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.

But what does a New Year’s resolution for a dog look like? Essentially, it should revolve around improving their health, bettering their lives and even helping others. 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 exercise regime

Promising to get more exercise can help us get fitter and lose weight — and according to a ComRes report, becoming more active is the most popular New Year’s resolution for humans.

How do you help your dog with this resolution? Why not:

·       Pick a new, exciting dog-walking place every couple of weeks, like a wooded area or around a lake.
·       Treat them to new toys to make your daily walks more fun.
·       Spend an extra 15 minutes every day throwing a ball for them in the back garden.
·       Look for places that offer dog swimming sessions — one of the best forms of cardio that also strengthens and tones your dog’s muscles.

Arthritis, diabetes and obesity can all be kept at bay with improved exercise. So, increasing how much activity your dog does every day is a great canine resolution to help prolong their life.

Volunteer your dog for pet therapy sessions

Instead of looking just at resolutions that can help your dog lead a better life, why not consider one that helps other? If your dog loves people and has a good temperament, team up with them and join an animal therapy programme! It could even be a joint New Year’s resolution.

Many medical experts think that pet therapy is an extremely effective tactic when used to improve mental, emotional and physical recovery rates. 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. Some of the benefits include: lowering anxiety, lifting spirits, encouraging communication, increasing joint movement, decreasing blood pressure, and improving focus and self-confidence.

So, help your dog make a difference this year and sign them up to assist those in need.


Book more frequent grooming appointments

Long-haired dogs and particular breeds need regular grooming, but that doesn’t mean your short-haired, lower-maintenance pooch should go without frequent baths and brushes!

Ideally, your dog should enjoy a bath once a month, with a brushing regime of three times a week. You might not know it, but regular brushing offers a host of health benefits, including removing grease, aerating the fur to help it grow and improving blood circulation. The action is also thought to reduce stress levels in dogs and can prevent skin complaints (caused by matted hair). 

If your dog isn’t a fan of baths, this might be a tough resolution to stick to — for both of you! But considering it could save you money on professional grooming and help improve the health and comfort of your pet, it’s worth persevering.


Give them a better diet

Have you ever felt swamped by the huge range of dog food available at your local supermarket? In the UK, there are all kinds of dog food varieties, including types depending on size, breed, age, and special requirements. So, how do you know you’re making the right choice? 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. 2018 should be your year to select the best dog food for them!

Carry out research to find out what’s available and which will work best for your dog. For example, 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!

Nutrition is vital to improving your dog’s health and lifespan. According to the FEDIAF — the European Pet Food Industry Federation — dogs need 37 essential nutrients (including vitamins, fatty acids and amino acids) in their daily food intake. Promise that this year, you’ll choose healthy dog treats and not give your dog your leftovers. Also, try buying 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:

·       Grapes, raisins, currants and sultanas.
·       Chocolate.
·       Onions.
·       Cheese and milk.


Help them learn something new

What’s that they say about old dogs and new tricks? Ignore it. This year is the year you and your pooch are going to learn a few new tricks. 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.

Here, we’ve found a few of our favourite dog tricks for you to try with your pet:

·       High-five.
·       Putting away their own toys.
·       Tucking themselves in at night.
·       Opening doors by themselves.
·       Ringing bells when they want to go for a walk.

Learning new tricks is a great way to bond with your dog and keep them mentally active in 2018!

Pick one, two or more of these resolutions and make this a stand-out year for your dog.

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