11 New Year’s Resolutions To Make With Your Dog For The Best Year Ever
At this point, most of us are itching to ring in the New Year. Why not start 2021 on the right foot with some goal-setting that includes your precious pooch?
New Year’s resolutions need not be a strictly human affair, after all. Help your dog live his best life by adopting simple changes that will benefit his overall health, security, and/or happiness.
Interested, but not sure where to start?
Here are 11 foolproof New Year’s resolutions you can make with your dog for a year you’ll never forget.
1. Help your pup lose his holiday paunch
“Losing weight” ranks high on most people’s resolution lists. Unfortunately, our furry friends can also struggle with weight problems.
According to a 2018 study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than half of the pet dogs in America are overweight. Excessive weight gain can lead to a host of medical problems including arthritis, labored breathing, heart disease, cancer, and ultimately, a lower quality of life. In other words: extra weight isn’t something to take lightly (pun fully intended).
Start small, and commit to a reasonable routine that you can actually accomplish. This might look like a couple more walks per week or an extra 10-minutes of walking per day. Bonus: you’re likely to get fit in the process.
2. Evaluate your dog’s diet
It’s easy to fall into a rut with our diets, and it’s no different for our dogs! If you’ve been feeding your dog the same generic kibbles, year and year, it’s not a bad idea to give the label a closer look.
As your dog ages, his caloric and nutritional needs will change. A growing puppy, for instance, requires specific nutrients like calcium and phosphorus. If your dog is a golden oldie, on the other hand, he may need a boost in protein to keep his muscles strong. Compare labels and buy dog food tailored for your dog’s current life stage.
Perhaps even more important than selecting the right dog food is measuring Fido’s dinner properly. Be honest: do you actually measure your dog’s daily intake, or do you just eyeball the amount you dump into his bowl every day?
To keep your pup from packing on the pounds, closely inspect the instructions on your dog food label. Factors like your dog’s breed, age, and exercise routine will all affect how much he should be eating.
Another worthwhile dietary resolution to adopt? Kick your habit of passing Fido scraps under the table. (That is, if you can resist those pleading puppy eyes!)
3. Spend more time outside
It’s remarkable how much a brief romp in the great outdoors can boost our moods. Not surprisingly, our canine companions can also benefit from a little sunshine and fresh air.
As the Animal Wellness Magazine points out, daily outdoor time helps our dogs maintain a healthy weight while mitigating boredom and anxiety.
This year, make it a point to get outside more. Go for a walk. Explore a new place together. Immerse yourself in nature. You’ll both benefit from the experience.
4. Learn a new trick together
Contrary to popular belief, old dogs most certainly CAN learn new tricks. Dogs are, by nature, curious creatures, and they are constantly observing and learning, well into old age.
When it comes to mastering a new trick, it’s a matter of determination and consistency. That and choosing the right trick. Catching a frisbee mid-air, for instance, may not be the best idea for your achy senior dog. Some better options? How about teaching your dog to speak on command, or helping him nail a high-five.
Practicing a new trick together will boost your bond with your dog while keeping him mentally stimulated. All good things, when it comes to your pet’s health.
5. Commit to teeth-brushing
Keeping those pearly whites intact is important to your dog’s overall health. And yet, teeth brushing is one of the most commonly overlooked grooming tasks among pet owners.
Protect your dog’s chompers with a pet-specific toothpaste (the human stuff can give your pup a major bellyache), and aim for a minimum of three weekly brushing sessions.
6. Learn a new dog-friendly recipe
This one’s for all you MasterChefs out there: why not add some wholesome pup-approved treats to your cooking repertoire? With just a handful of readily available ingredients, you can whip up this comforting dog-friendly stew from Dogster. For a sweet treat, try your hand at these delectable frozen yogurt goodies. Yum!
7. Enrich your dog’s environment
You work hard to give your dog the best life ever—but does your home satisfy his basic canine instincts? Environmental enrichment caters to your dog’s natural behaviors by creating a space that is mentally engaging and interesting. It encourages species-specific behavior by providing an environment that mimics the conditions he would experience in the wild.
Warding off doggy boredom can be as simple as introducing a new toy, or as elaborate as setting up a DIY agility course in the backyard. Here are some additional ways you can take your dog’s environment up a notch:
- Satisfy his hunting instinct: In the wild, dogs are natural hunters and foragers. Reacquaint your dog with this behavior by hiding food around the house or scattering kibbles around the yard. A puzzle feeder also works wonders here.
- Encourage nose work: Our dogs are champion sniffers. Reinforce this skill with a game of “scent search,” hiding a few treats or cotton balls doused in essential oils.
- Embrace novelty: Keep things fresh by introducing your dog to new people or places. Take a different route on your nightly neighborhood stroll, rotate his toys, expose him to other dogs. Changing things up will keep your dog stimulated and engaged while avoiding canine restlessness.
8. Try a new activity together
Are your dog’s days becoming a tedious stream of ho-hum monotony? Spice things up by joining a new sport like flyball or dock diving. You’ll bond with your dog while keeping him in peak mental and physical condition. He may even make some new doggy pals along the way.
9. Get your dog microchipped
We’d like to think it will never happen to us—but the sad truth is that one in three pets will go missing at some point during their lifetime. Avoid this tragedy and give your dog his best chance of returning home by having him microchipped. This relatively painless procedure can prevent heartbreak and provides peace of mind, all at an affordable cost.
10. Make a pet emergency preparedness plan
Are you ready if disaster strikes? It’s wise to have a plan in place for the furry members of your family should the unthinkable happen, whether it’s an earthquake or a sudden evacuation.
For more tips on preparing your pets for an emergency, check out our comprehensive disaster preparedness checklist. We hope you never need to use it, but you’ll be happy you have a plan if things ever go south.
11. Start a pet emergency fund
As pet owners, we know that veterinary care isn’t cheap. A single emergency visit can land you with a bill in the 1000’s.
Dealing with your fur baby’s upset tummy or painful paw injury is hard enough. Don’t let the financial side of things add to your distress. Starting a pet emergency fund today will bring you peace of mind tomorrow.
Embrace a better you—and a better pet—with a dog-approved New Year’s resolution. And no matter what resolutions you adopt, never forget your number one goal: to always love your dog as much as humanly possible.