Whether or not you make personal decisions for your own New Year, making resolutions for your dog’s health, happiness and well-being might be in order.
By Ellyce Rothrock
More exercise, eating a healthier diet, indulging in more self-care, taking on a new hobby, developing outside interests, freshening or deepening your skills in certain aspects of your life … these all are common New Year’s resolutions that people make for themselves. All are admirable goals.
But what about your dog? Wouldn’t all of these resolutions be great for him or her, too? The answer is: Of course!
Resolving to create an even better life for your companion can offer so many benefits: help erase boredom, provide mental stimulation, build greater health, and strengthen the bond between you and your best friend.
Here’s a short list of resolutions you can make for your dog:
- Go on more walks every week (more than one a day if you can swing it!).
- Add just 10 more minutes to each walk.
- Engage in more quality time with your dog, whether it be playtime or cuddles.
- Create a daily ritual, like a mini training and treating session, where your pup runs through his or her skills.
- Take 15 minutes each day to work on a new trick.
- Talk to your dog more.
- Schedule a comprehensive veterinary exam if you haven’t already. Follow up with your dog’s vet as directed, administer flea and tick preventives (and any other medication) on schedule, and plan for at least one dental treatment.
- Resolve to feed your companion better. Evaluate the diet regimen; research options online and consult your veterinarian to determine if a change-up might benefit.
- Offer healthier treats, either commercial or homemade.
- Provide more human and canine socialization (shop together at pet-friendly stores, visit dog parks, encourage positive engagement on walks).
- Enroll in an obedience class if your dog needs a training refresher.
- Enroll your dog in an agility or nosework class to provide socialization, mental stimulation, and physical exercise.
- Resolve to groom your dog more regularly. This will alert you to skin or health issues, help him or her look her best, and provide quality time together.
Making resolutions each New Year is easy. Sticking to them and seeing them through all year long is hard. However, by adopting just a handful of these resolutions, your 2018 can be the year you strengthen your bond with your dog, keep your companion healthy and happy, and share the great outdoors together getting some much-needed exercise.
Doesn’t that sound like a great year to you?