It’s the New Year and a great opportunity to make some New Year's resolutions for you and your dog. We set ourselves goals to improve our health, further our careers, or just push ourselves to have better habits. Obviously our pets can’t make their own resolutions, but some resolutions you make for yourself could influence your dog’s life in a positive way too. In this article, we've put together 6 New Year's resolutions for you and your dog so that together you can look to achieve those goals.

New Year Resolution for you and your Dog : Is my dog getting enough exercise?

One of the most important aspects to yours and your dogs well being is getting enough exercise. Be committed to spending more time outside. Perhaps you could do the longer version of your shorter winter walk or explore new walks. There’s always playing more ball games outside. We’ve known many four legged friends who, if they could talk, would be saying “Are you actually joking? Have you seen the weather out there?” when the lead appears and its pouring outside! But once you’re wrapped up and out on the walk, you’re glad to be out in the fresh air. Resolve to get outdoors more this year.

New Year Resolution for you and your Dog : Does my dog need to go on a Diet?

Remember to check periodically that the food you are feeding your dog is the best choice for him. As dogs age, their metabolism slows down so it is important to match their age and weight with the right quantity of food. Also remember to choose treats carefully – some treats are high in calories for your dog. Treats should be given as part of a balanced diet and shouldn’t be more than 10% of your dogs calorie intake. In the same way that we might calorie count to lose weight, we can do the same thing for our dogs. Carrying excess weight puts strain on their joints and can lead to other health problems. Resolve to reassess your dog’s diet this year as a New Year's resolution for you and your dog.

New Year Resolution for you and your Dog : How can I stimulate my dog?

  • Teach him new tricks

Heard the saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” Keep your dog mentally young by teaching him new tricks. The same principles apply as if you were training a puppy. Using repetition and reward will embed the action with the command. And you’ll both enjoy it! Resolve to teach him a new trick this year.

  • Buy him a new toy

Some breeds of dog have inbred skills for herding and flyball. There are various toys available for throwing and retrieving games, as well as chew toys for dental health. Additionally there are treat dispensing toys that can mentally stimulate your dog as they figure out how to get the treats. Resolve to buy him new toys more often.

  • Arrange play dates

Many dogs breeds are sociable and will enjoy the company and play of another dog. Play dates for puppies are a great way to socialise a young dog. And playdates for older dogs are a great way of expending energy and keeping your dog mentally happy. Resolve to make a play date with another dog and owner.

New Year Resolution for you and your Dog : How often should I groom my dog?

In the same way that we bathe or shower to look after our skin and hair, your dog needs regular grooming to help keep his fur and skin healthy. Ideally, depending on breed, you should bathe your dog once a fortnight. Any more often can cause itching and dry skin. And make sure to regularly brush your dogs teeth. Alternatively, some drier harder foods help to keep teeth clean as do some daily dental chews. As your dog gets older, dental hygiene becomes more important so address teeth brushing this year if it’s something you could improve on for your dog. Resolve to groom him more often (yourself or at the groomers) and to brush his teeth regularly as a New Year's resolution for you and your dog.

New Year Resolution for you and your Dog : How often should I wash his bed?

It’s not quite time for a spring clean, but the New Year is a good time to clean the dog bed, dog towels and dog bowls. It’s also a good time to wash his dog toys, and wash his collar and lead. Mild detergents and thorough rinsing will limit contact with chemicals. Making sure that our dog supplies are clean reduces the amount of bacteria and therefore reduces the risks of skin and gastrointestinal issues. Check out our blog on washing a dog bed and washing a collar. Resolve to wash the dog supplies more often this year.

New Year Resolution for you and your Dog : When should he see the vet?

When Oscar & Hooch were young, we only seemed to visit the vet when they were poorly or needed a vaccine. Then as they got older we took them for more regular annual check-ups. The vet kept an eye on their weight and their joints, recommended new foods and supplements as they got older. Our boys were lucky and lived to the ripe old ages of 15 and nearly 15. They both suffered with arthritis which is a common complaint for older labs. But we felt reassured that the regular check-ups would have picked up health problems at an early stage. Resolve to organise an annual check up for your dog.

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