The time for making resolutions and setting goals for the New Year is upon us. This year, include your dog in your resolutions. You may find it is fun and good for both of you!
1) Decide to hit a new trail or park at least once a month. There are many dog friendly hiking areas that you and your canine companion can enjoy. Be sure to pack water for both of you and baggies to clean up after your dog. A collar or harness with ID for your dog and a good leash are the other essentials. Most hiking areas have leash laws and you want your dog on leash anyway. The leash keeps him safe from wildlife and unfriendly dogs plus keeps him from bothering other hikers, their dogs and the wildlife. Win/win all round!
2) Eat healthier. For your dog that means researching his diet to be sure it is balanced and complete. If he is doing well on his current food, don’t change things “just because”. But if he needs to lose some weight, his skin or coat aren’t looking the best, etc, check out other diet options.
3) Make it part of your daily routine to play with your dog every day. On bad weather or harried days it may be a quick game of fetch with a soft toy down the carpeted hallway. On nice days, maybe fetch or tug out in the sunshine and on grass.
4) Enrich your dog’s brain with new training. You might want to try a new dog sport or simply try some tricks. Old dogs can and do learn new tricks and have fun doing so!
5) A yearly physical, or twice a year if your canine has reached senior status of seven years of age or more, is important for his health. Don’t neglect this most important and basic part of health care.
6) Educate yourself on preventive health care for your dog. Research which vaccines beyond the core recommended vaccines, make sense for your dog and his lifestyle. Not all dogs need all vaccines.
7) Stay on top of preventive care for your dog when it comes to parasites from heartworm to intestinal to fleas and ticks. These parasites are harmful on their own and may carry even more deadly diseases. There are many options for preventive care but you must faithfully follow the directives.
8) Educate yourself about appropriate supplements that may keep your dog active and healthy for many more years. Joint and cognitive support can benefit almost every senior dog. Always check with your veterinarian to be sure supplements are compatible and safe with your dog’s current diet and health status.
9) Stay on top of your dog’s grooming needs. Ears, nails, teeth and coat require consistent attention all year round to help your dog look and feel good. The amount of time and equipment required will vary from breed to breed. You may groom your dog yourself or make appointments with a groomer to help your canine shine.
10) Take time to simply sit in the sun (or the shade – your preference), watch the birds and enjoy life with your faithful dog by your side. The lives of dogs are way too short so you need to savor your time together while you can.