A new year has just begun, and you probably wrote down or made some mental notes about what you’re expecting to accomplish this year. Everyone makes new year resolutions, but not all of us are successfully executing them, right? What if this year you make resolutions thinking about your dog? We bet you will not forget them when they look at you with those cute puppy eyes!
We listed 4 new year resolutions focused on your dog, which will improve their life, their health, their behavior, and consequently, your family. The best part of most of these resolutions is that you’ll be able to do the same for yourself along with your dog!
Resolution #1: Do a full health check-up!
Our beloved pet friends are pretty good at hiding their pain and other health issues won’t surface until they become advanced and even severe. So, if you want a healthy pet living happily with your family for many years, make sure to take them for a full yearly check-up. Just like us, humans should have annual check-ups, exams, and scans, our dogs need those too!
Think of these check-ups as a prevention investment for your best friend’s health. Prevention check-ups may detect diseases and conditions on their early stages, making the treatment less invasive, more effective, and sometimes, even less expensive.
Resolution #2: Focus on a healthier diet!
Does your dog eat only their pet food? Or do you often fall for their charms and give them a little piece of the food that you’re eating? Come on, be honest with yourself here. We promise not to judge you! Table-feeding our pets is something we’re all guilty of at some point, isn’t it? Who can resist those puppy eyes and how cute they get when they’re begging us for a piece of pizza… But these days will be over this year!
During your dog’s annual check-up, be sure to ask your veterinarian about their weight and dental health, to see the areas where you can improve how they eat. Your dog’s eating habits influence tremendously many aspects of their health, including their weight, how their organs function, joints, coat, as well as their behavior and sleeping patterns.
Ask your veterinarian about the best dog foods, raw food choices, and also treats and supplements. Hemp-based supplements such as True Hemp chews and sticks can be a healthy option due to their grain-free, non-GMO formulation and high antioxidant concentrations. There are specific formulas for heart and immune system health, hip and joints, and also calming support.
Resolution #3: Train your dog and teach one new trick every month
If your dog is no longer a puppy and is not already trained, you may regret not doing this earlier. Training will significantly improve their behavior, their anxiety issues, and even your relationship and bonding! A well-done training can help you address many of their problem behaviors, and with the right attitude, it can be a fun moment for both you and your dog!
Instead of focusing on punishing your dog, train them to think about building a meaningful and loving bonding between you both. These are the principles of positive reinforcement training that focuses on rewarding instead of punishing, and is a growing trend among professional trainers with good results on several breeds.
Start with a simple and easy trick: sit. Choose your dog's favorite treat and hold it close to the dog’s nose. Then you start moving your hand up, allowing the dog’s head to follow which will cause it’s bottom to lower. Once the dog is in sitting position, you can say firmly “Sit!”, give them the treat and share your affection!
You can repeat this sequence daily for a few times until your best friend masters it! Then you can start asking them to sit during situations where you’d like them calm and seated, such as mealtime and before leaving for walks.
Resolution #4 Brush your dog’s teeth more often
Dental health is crucial for your dog’s overall health. Just as we brush our teeth daily for a healthy mouth, our pets should too. Periodontal diseases are pretty common on dogs who don’t have their teeth cleaned, due to excessive bacteria growth. Some pets may show symptoms before they’re three years old, and the disease can evolve, causing great pain and problems on other organs.
If your dog is still a puppy, perhaps now is the perfect moment to train them and get them used to the routine of having their teeth cleaned. You must make your dog get used to you touching their mouth, so you can both brush and examine their teeth to see if veterinarian care is needed. Remember to praise and treat your dog while you’re trying to reach for their mouth, so they can understand that this is a good moment. Start first by massaging your dog’s mouth and touching their teeth with your fingers or a finger toothbrush, without toothpaste. Do not use human toothpaste, ever.
When your dog feels comfortable with you touching their teeth with your fingers or a finger toothbrush, you can present the pet toothpaste to him. After brushing your dog’s teeth, make sure to praise them. You can give them dental treats as a reward for their good behavior. And of course, work up to turning this habit into a daily routine.
Finally: Write down and follow your progress!
New year resolutions are nothing if we forget about them. So write these down and put them somewhere everyone can see them every day. And don’t forget to pay attention to yourself too! Do your own yearly full check-up, focus on a healthier diet, never skip training with your dog, and take care of your dental health. If you follow these through, most certainly you and your dog will have an awesome year, with you returning the love to them every day.