Step Up the Walking Game – Do you stick to the same old dog walks? All the smells been smelt, tree’s all sniffed? Why not aim to shake it up a bit and try new or harder walking routes? If you have a dog who doesn’t mind being in the car you can look up some popular and dog-friendly walks. This can be just other dog parks or trails, but could include hiking, forests and even the odd beach! Keeping walks interesting is great for you and your dog, getting out is great physically but also mentally.
Learn Pet First Aid - Veterinarians are the experts, but most of us are not lucky enough to have a vet-in-residence 24/7. Even if you live in a house with other people, odds are that when your dog eats something he shouldn’t or your puppy cuts a paw, you will be home alone, and it will be after veterinary hours. That’s why it’s so important as a pet parent that you know how to jump to the task to rescue Rex or help Kitty feel better before professional medical help is available.
Stop Pulling on the Leash – Ok this one is for your dog, but they will need you help! It’s not too hard to teach your pup to not pull on their lead. Make sure you have the right kind of lead – choke chains should not be used for a dog likely to pull (and are ever decreasing in popularity sure to safety). Harnesses are the best as if your dog does pull it’s not crushing their neck/throat.
While some dogs naturally walk calmly and politely all their lives with no specific instruction, that’s certainly not the norm. Most dogs need to learn how to do it. Bring top-quality treats on every walk and give them to your pup whenever they are doing the right thing: walking without pulling you.
Try a New Activity - They say that one of the most important factors in successfully achieving a goal of getting more exercise is to find something you love doing. And this is also true of our pets! So why not try a new activity with your dog? From “doga” to hiking, “bikejoring” to kayaking, it’s easier than ever for you to incorporate your dog into a new exercise routine. You’ll both have great fun and achieve your goal of getting more exercise too!
Drink More Water – Okay this is for BOTH of you, and one we’re deffo not great at doing! Staying hydrated is essential for your pet’s health and your own, helping to regulate body temperature, flush waste and bacteria, and promote skin health. Remember to refresh your pet’s water bowl daily—and when you see them taking a sip, don’t forget to take one yourself.
Stay on top of Dental Hygiene - Although this isn’t the most glamorous of goals, it’s a very important one. Taking care of your dog’s dental hygiene is essential in keeping your dog healthy, helping to prevent severe problems like gum disease.
Your dog has one set of pearly whites for their entire life, so you must clean them on a regular basis. We clean our teeth twice a day so why shouldn’t we clean our canine’s canines? Your dog might not like you brushing their teeth at first, but if you can find a really tasty dog-friendly toothpaste, like a beef-flavoured one, you’ll be brushing their gnashers in no time.
Get into a Good Grooming Routine - Alongside cleaning your dog’s teeth, take more time for grooming your dog in the New Year.
Regular grooming not only keeps your dog looking great, but it’s also an important part of making sure your pet feels happy and healthy. An occasional bath paired with regular brushing helps to spread the natural oils in your dog’s fur, preventing them from getting matted to keep those long, silky coats looking clean and tangle-free.
However, don’t be fooled into thinking a short-haired dog won’t need frequent grooming too, short hair comes loose and needs pulling out with the brush.
When tending to your dog’s coat, check for strange lumps or bumps, alongside looking out for any pesky parasites that might be lurking on your dog’s skin. If your dog loves to run through the long grass on walkies, keep an eye out for ticks and fleas especially.
Grooming also gives you the chance to inspect your dog’s teeth, eyes, and ears for any changes. Also, you can see if their claws are at a good length or if they need a trim.
GO on More Play Dates - Just like we set our own goal to make new friends or socialize more often, dogs need their own circle of buddies, too! Although some breeds don’t enjoy the company of other pups, most love to play and hang out with other dogs.
A great first step is to find a local dog park. Aside from allowing your dog to mingle with others, dog parks are also great for owners to get some exercise, socialize with other dog lovers, and maybe even discover a new part of the neighbourhood. Always be mindful of the posted rules and be cautious when introducing your dog to others.
If you’re a new puppy parent, it will be beneficial to work on socializing your puppy before introducing him to strangers. Instead of the dog park, opt to hang out with friends or family members’ dogs. Knowing the temperament of other pets in your life will be a comforting advantage when playing fur-friend matchmaker.