New Year’s Resolutions For Dogs That You Can Actually Keep
We all like to pamper our pets, and there are a few new year’s resolutions you can start now to ensure they are fit and healthy…
Always measure your pets food.
Don’t measure their food by eye – The amount of food your dog needs will depend on things such as age and size so it’s important to get this right and avoid overfeeding which can lead to doggie weight gain.
A handful varies from person to person and even the same person won’t measure the same amount every time, especially if you’re in a hurry or distracted by family life.
You’ll be surprised when trying to read the side of a branded measure cup how easily you can overfeed.
Just tweaking your dogs food by a few grams per meal can soon get their waistline back, without them feeling deprived.
Once your dog is at his ideal weight you can increase his food by a few grams again to a maintenance measure.
You could use part of their daily allowance as treats. Stop feeding titbits from the kitchen, stopping that piece of cheese every time you make a sandwich will soon make a difference. Then when you give your dog little bits of cheese at doggie training classes he will think he’s gone to heaven.
Make sure that everyone in the family follows the same rules!
Feed your dog an age appropriate diet.
Dietary requirements differ throughout the different stages of your dog’s life – puppies have different requirements to older dogs, who require less energy from their diet, but will have other health issues which diet can help address such as joints, etc.
A puppy diet is all about growth and development, puppies require a special diet to aid their physical development. They need to be fed at evenly spaced intervals to avoid over stretching their small stomachs.
Working dogs also have different requirements when they are working to keep them in peak condition.
Older dogs have less energy as they slow down and their system requires help to keep them in good condition.
A suitable diet should be easily digested and produce nice firm, dark brown, stools. If the stools are firm, but get softer towards the end, this is a classic sign of overfeeding. If your dog suffers from wind or diarrhoea then there may be something in their diet that does not suit them and it may be worth consulting your vet for advice.
Experiment with exercise – walks don’t have to be the only source of exercise your dog gets – why not experiment with different ways of exercising them that fit in with your lifestyle and hobbies.
Don’t always do the same walk every day, see the joy and excitement on your dog’s face when you go somewhere new or you haven’t been to for a while. There will be a real spring in their step as they have so many new sniffs to enjoy.
Join a dog walking group
Meet up with friends at different locations and maybe find a nice dog friendly café to enjoy a coffee afterwards.
Go to a forest and see what activities they have on, maybe a treasure hunt for the children, but doggie friendly too so that your dog can enjoy a new environment.
Look into trying new activities like agility, flyball, scentwork, gundog training, dog showing. These will all combine obedience, mental and physical stimulation and increase the bond between you and your dog. They are also very social activities for us too.
Exercise through play – incorporate your dog’s favourite toys and activities into their exercise routine to help keep them active as well as keeping their minds active and well stimulated.
Learn new tricks – you can ask at your doggie training classes or buy a book
Make your own or buy dog puzzles to work their brains
Scatter feed, use a snuffle mat for their dinner
Use a puzzle ball to get them working for their meals
DIY scentwork to get your dogs senses working
Check your dogs health - New Year Check-ups with your vet are a great way to check your dog is fit and healthy and their boosters are up to date, plus they can pick up on possible health issues (ie diabetes, arthritis, obesity) early which will make treating them easier to manage.
This is a great opportunity for you to raise any questions or concerns that you have about your dog.
Also get them to check your dogs microchip, this lets you know where the microchip is and also that it is still in good working order.
Check their details are up to date – Have you moved home or changed your mobile phone number in the past year? Check that all details on your dogs collar / microchipping records are up to date.
Here is the kennel club’s advice on dog identification tags:
Keep their smile sparkling – Make sure you have a good dental health routine for your dog. Daily cleaning is the best way to prevent build-up of plaque and tartar. Make sure to use a specific doggie toothpaste.
Make sure you have a variety of good chew toys and treats to give your dog a good chew workout to prevent plaque and tartar build up.
Good quality food and chew treats, nice big raw carrots, natural chews with no added colours or harmful substances, Kong chew toys, if you feed a raw diet raw meaty bones – Supervision is required.
There are lots of things you can do today to help keep your dog fit and healthy, why not begin introducing these now and start the new year well.