Everybody wants to start the New Year off on the right foot…or in the case of pet parents, the right feet. What are some of the changes you want to see in your dog’s life for the coming year? If you and your dog need to get in shape, find a better eating plan, or just generally de-stress, we have some suggestions for you. Here are five resolutions you and your dog can enjoy together.
1. My dog and I need to get in shape…
If you can’t easily feel your dog’s ribs under a thin layer of skin and there is no significant waistline dip between her ribs and her hips, then chances are your pooch may be anywhere from slightly overweight to obese. Extra pounds can add stress to your pet’s cardiac and respiratory systems, make it difficult for her liver and kidneys to function normally, and strain her joints. As it does in humans, the added weight can detract from her health and take years off her life.
This year, make a plan to take your pooch for longer walks instead of just quickly traipsing around the block after dinner. Go on some over-country hikes or even short runs to increase her activity level. Take her to the doggy park so that she can socialize, run, and play with her canine friends. Throw a ball and play fetch (or just chase her down to retrieve the ball) for an afternoon in your backyard.
All of these activities are guaranteed to increase muscle strength and burn calories and fat on your dog…and you.
2. I want to make sure my pooch gets more nutritious foods and treats…
Now that your dog is playing harder and exercising more, take a look at the kind of foods she eats and what ingredients are in her kibble. Most commercial foods and treats are processed with fillers, chemical preservatives, and un natural coloring and flavoring agents. These ingredients may or may not be harmful to your pet, but by and large, they have no nutritional value. Additionally, if you have a dog with skin allergies, commercial foods containing corn or wheat gluten may be exacerbating her itching problems.
Because of those additives, we recommend feeding your pooch grain-free kibble, a homemade diet using products found in your pantry and refrigerator, or a raw diet. You can go online and research to find which foods or diet would work best for your dog, your budget, and your time. If your choose a homemade diet, look for easy one-, two-, or three-ingredient recipes that provide all the proteins, carbs, and fats your dog requires. Additionally, acquaint yourself with those foods that your dog can eat safely and those foods that she should never eat. Onions, grapes, avocados, chocolate, and yeasty bread dough come to mind. Look for healthy, all-natural, organic treats and nutritional bars and supplements that not only taste good to your pet, but also are good for them.
**Please note: Never start your dog on a new diet or a new food without first consulting with your veterinarian.
3. Giving back to dogs in need
Let’s face it, your dog is pretty lucky, The fact that you are reading this educational dog health blog means you care! Why not give back to other dogs that aren’t as lucky. One really easy way to do that which won’t cost you an extra penny is by buying your dog food and treats from DOG for DOG. For every bag of food or treats you buy one is given to a dog in need! Check out their all natural food and treats and amazing mission.
4. Take care of your dog’s teeth!
Caring for your dog’s teeth is as important a part of owning a pet as feeding and bathing him. It’s unfortunately true that a large percentage of dogs have oral health problems by the time they are three years of age. You can reduce the likelihood of your dog becoming one of these statistics by establishing a dental care routine right from when he’s a puppy.
Other statistics show that just by caring for your dog’s teeth, you can add 3-5 years to her life! Isn’t that amazing? Most of us don’t ever brush our dog’s teeth– EVER. But now you know, so you’ll do something to change that.
The most important part of your dog’s home dental care routine is brushing his teeth (or if your dog resists brushing there are lots of other ways to take care of her teeth). This prevents plaque accumulating on his teeth and gums, and hardening into tartar. Ideally, you should brush his teeth twice daily, just as you do your own. However, life can sometimes get in the way, so if you can manage it once a day, that’s certainly better than not at all. And if you’re like most people once every few days would still be heroic!
5. Grooming should not be so stressful…
Some dogs love the water and love getting regular baths. If yours is one that hides when she hears the bath water running, it may be time to try de-stressing her.
The scent of lavender has long been shown to have a calming effect on both humans and animals, so bathing and conditioning your dog in an lavender shampoo might be a way to ease her water anxieties.You can also try using a leave-in spritzing conditioner made with lavender and calming chamomile to help her stay relaxed after bathing.
For maximum effect try an oral calming remedy. We like Sleepytime Tonic which helps to calm and soothe an anxious pooch. Also perfect before fireworks, travel and trips to the groomer and vet.
For those times when bathing is not an option, a spray-on waterless shampoo and dry bath might be just the ticket. Made with ingredients that eliminate the odor-causing proteins on your dog’s skin and fur, you won’t need to drag her to the tub and get her wet to help her smell and feel better – easing stress levels for both of you.