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It’s another new year again and as we go about making resolutions for how we can improve during the year, I’d like us to include ways we can help our 4-legged friends! So here yet again, is a list of suggestions for ways to improve the lives of our dogs.
Control Weight. Weight loss often ranks very high on the list of people’s New Year’s resolutions. While people are generally observant regarding their own weight, they often are oblivious to their dog’s expanding weight. So look at your beloved pet with an objective eye and take action if their weight is more than what it should be.
How can you tell if your dog is overweight? Rub your hands along the ribs. Even with a lot of fur, you should be able to feel his ribs. If you can’t, it’s time to lose a few pounds. Keeping your dog at an ideal weight will help them live longer and healthier lives.
How can you control weight? First look at the food you’re feeding. Check out the ingredients, move to a higher quality of food if possible, feed less than what is recommended on the bag, and supplement with vegetables whenever possible.
Exercise your dog. While most people are very good about taking their dog for a neighborhood walk, as a form of exercise, that’s often not enough. Depending on your dog, his breed, age, and other factors, he may need more and varied types of exercise. Give him opportunities to run, either by taking him to the dog park, or playing a game of fetch. If running isn’t an option, take him swimming. Swimming is an ideal form of exercise for all dogs because it’s low impact.
Spend a few minutes alone each day with your dog. Try to find 5 to 10 minutes a day of dedicated alone time with your dog. Find a quiet place and just be with him. Calm yourself, then put your hands on him, give him a little massage, or just sit together. Regularly doing this will help both of you relax.
Continue to engage your dog’s mind. It’s a good idea to regularly work on training activities with your dog. It reminds them of what they should be doing, and it’s good mental stimulation. You can also find new activities for your dog, such as taking a tricks class or getting involved in competitive events. Just as with humans, mental stimulation helps to keep your dog young and vibrant.
Socialize your dog. Most people know this one, but it’s worth repeating. Dogs are social animals and many crave the interaction with people and other dogs. Find activities that both you and your dog can enjoy together. If your dog is not social, this is an opportunity to try to change that. Introduce him slowly to people and other dogs. Help him find at least one friend and work up from there.
Make sure your dog’s has a collar with current tags, or even better, is microchipped. Through out the years, I’ve found a number of dogs, most of them without a collar or a microchip. Fortunately most have been reunited with their humans, but that may not be the case. Be responsible for your dog, and ensure he can be returned to you should he get away from you.
Hopefully these suggestions help you make it a great New Year for your and your dog!