New Year’s dog resolutions

Yes, it’s that time of year when we give some thought to those areas of our life that maybe need some improvement or we have not tried so far. But how about things that could improve the quality of our dog’s life as well?

The one that seems to score the highest each year is diet, combined with losing weight. Being a conscientious dog owner, you will likely know what your dog weighs and whether he is under/ over weight or just where he needs to be. But have you adjusted his diet to reflect the fact that he is ageing? Should he now be on a diet that better reflects his needs as an older dog? Should he be given supplements for those joints that are ageing? Your vet should be able to help you create a plan of action.

Running a close second to diet is the old chestnut “I should exercise more”. This is one that is truly a win-win for both you and your dog. As we all know, dogs love to exercise. Whether it’s the physical activity, the opportunity to meet friends at the dog park or getting lost in the abundance of smells in the great outdoors, dogs love the stimulation that going for a walk brings. So, why not think about walking/ jogging more with your dog. Nothing reflects contentment better than a dog asleep after being physically and mentally stimulated.

Third on my list of things to think about for your dog, in the new year, is travel. As with more exercise, this idea is a win-win for you and your dog. If you are a person who likes to explore new places, then why not take your dog along for the ride. Travel does not need to be an extensive, out of province activity. As many people have discovered during COVID, there are many hidden gems to explore on our doorstep in Alberta. Pared down even further, how about new parks or off-leash dog parks in and around the Calgary area. This would offer your dog new terrains to check out as well as a host of new smells to take in. It doesn’t get much better than this to stimulate your dog’s senses.

Number four on my list is dental hygiene for your dog. There is a lot of information around on the benefits of keeping your dog’s teeth clean. But are you paying attention to the advice? Maybe the new year would be a good time to COMMIT to cleaning your dog’s teeth DAILY, rather than when you remember to get round to it! Not only is dental hygiene a part of your dog’s overall health but you can save a pile of money by avoiding expensive vet bills for deep cleaning or extractions.

Lastly, put yourself in your dog’s “shoes” and imagine the boredom your dog feels whilst you are work. Consider having someone come to your home during the day to either let him outside to go to the bathroom, walk him or spend some time with him. It will make a significant improvement in your dog’s mental health and will possibly deter him from getting into a wrecking, chewing state of mind caused by the frustration of being alone.

When considering the welfare of a dog, I always, where possible, think of the situation from the dog’s point of view. If you start thinking that way, or do more thinking that way, you’ll be surprised at how you perceive things differently.

Finn and I wish you all the very best for the new year! 

About the author

Steve King

Steve King

Steve King was President and Founder of Community Therapy Dogs Society, a volunteer with Lions Foundation of Canada and a dog trainer.

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