Thursday, January 4, 2018

8 New Year's Resolutions for Dog Owners

*** NOTE: basically, this is the 2017 list I posted last year with some additional updates***

Happy New Year! 2018 is sure to be the year of leading a healthy, balanced lifestyle, so why not start with your dog? The little steps you take starting today, will surely help in giving your dog a happy and healthy life. With all celebration, I have created 8 New Year's Resolutions for you:

  1. Stay consistent on all the medical stuff: This means making sure your dog is taking a monthly heartworm medication, getting a flea/tick preventative, up to date on their vaccinations and yearly veterinarian check ups. It is also a good idea to do an overall body scan of your dog monthly to check for any unusual lumps or bumps. 
  2. Brush those teeth: Like humans, a dog's mouth is the gateway to health. Dental problems can lead to a myriad of life-threatening infections. Online, there are recommendations ranging from brushing your dog's teeth everyday, to three times a week, to once a week. If you don't brush your dog's teeth, I think a good place to start is...well... just starting! You can also invest in dog toys specifically designed for cleaning teeth. But, these should not be a substitution for actual teeth brushing. IMPORTANT NOTE: DO NOT USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE ON DOGS. A LOT OF HUMAN TOOTHPASTES ARE TOXIC TO DOGS. 
  3. Learn 1st Aid for canines and pack a 1st Aid kit: This is especially important if you travel with your dog. But, let's face it, accidents happen at home as well. For more information, please check out this link. -----> click here
  4. Exercise together...daily: I like to think of daily dog exercise as a daily meditation. Sometimes, it seems like a daunting task. But all in all, it is good for you to take time out from the daily grind and bond with your furry companion. It reduces stress in you and your dog. Which in turn, helps build healthy, sustaining daily behaviors. It's also a good idea to shake it up a bit. Yes, having a daily routine is good. But it can also lead to boredom and mental fatigue. Try going on a hike or a new enrichment game. Use some creativity! Remember, both mental and physical exercise are a must for your furry friend. It helps keep unwanted behaviors like chewing or dumpster diving at bay.
  5.  Measure your dog's food: Obesity can also lead to a myriad of health problems. Investing in a quality dog food, measuring out the right amount and exercise will help give your dog a long, healthy life. At Bark City, we love Honest Kitchen because it's real Human-Grade Food. (Yes, this is a shameless solicitation because we believe in the product!)
  6. Update your info and microchip: If you have changed addresses, remember to update your dog's medical records. It's also a good idea to get your dog microchipped, because.... well.... collars fall off. Keep that microchip information up to date as well. 
  7. Be a good neighbor: Pick up after your dog on those walks, and start working on those bad habits like fence running, leash pulling and excessive barking at everything. Keep in mind that even if your dog is "already trained", you need to consistently practice learned behaviors in order to keep them learned! Otherwise, your dog will slip back into old habits. Additionally, do not over train your dog. Keep the lessons at short 15-minute sessions at most. 
  8. Keep up with your own mental health. You may ask yourself what does my mood have to do with my dog? Often, dogs will pick up on their caretaker's mood. If you are stressed, you dog will become stressed. If you are depressed, it will reflect within your dog. Your dog may not know why you are feeling these emotions, but they will sense them and it will in turn cause them anxiety.
With all that said, remember that change does not happen overnight. And nobody (human or dog) is perfect. Be kind to yourself and make small changes over a long period of time.  For more resolutions, check out the list from 2016!

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