In Western culture, annual New Year’s celebrations are traditionally accompanied by well intentioned resolutions. As humans, we historically vow to lose weight, stop smoking or spend quality time with the family. Did you ever wonder what your dog’s resolutions would be? Perhaps “I’ll stay out of the cat box”. Maybe “I’ll beg at the table less”. Or the difficult but ever popular “I’ll put paw in hand, not snout in crotch, when meeting new humans”.
Regardless of what our canine companion’s intentions are, there are some simple but important New Year resolutions that YOU can make on their behalf to help your four-legged family members live happy and healthy all year long.
- Resolve to feed your dog a healthy diet. Not all pet foods are created equal, nor are they all suitable for all dogs. Puppy formulations typically have higher levels of protein than would be needed or desired for senior dogs. Some dogs are allergic to chicken or beef, hence the increase in alternative protein sources such as lamb or fish. Be sure your precious pet gets an appropriate blend of high quality protein, vegetables, fats and vitamins. Diets rich in antioxidants can reduce disease, inflammation, premature aging, and degeneration. “Human” food is often too rich in fats or sugars; emotionally difficult as it may be, deposit table scraps into the garbage pail, NOT your doggy disposal.
- Resolve to reduce your pet's exposure to harmful substances. The toxins found in common fertilizers, pesticides and household cleaning agents have been linked with increased incidences of pet cancers. Rather than using products with warning labels stating they are unsafe for animals, seek out the increasing number of available "green" --- environmentally-friendly --- products.
- Resolve to schedule regular visits to the veterinarian. Since illnesses that are caught early are often treatable, regular exams and immunizations to protect your fur kids from doggy diseases and maladies are your best weapon. Regular professional teeth cleaning will keep germs and bacteria in check, while giving your Poochy Pal consistently kissable breath and a pearly white smile.
- Resolve to give your pet lots of exercise. Insufficient exercise can contribute to behavioral problems including chewing, digging, hyperactivity and unruliness. A regular schedule of exercise can help prevent obesity and illness for both you AND your dog!
Last but not least, if you have not already done so…
- Resolve to spay or neuter AND microchip your dog!