Too many holiday cookies this year? Forget the gym membership. How about focusing your New Year’s Resolution on the other pooch in your life, your dog? Here are a few easy ways to boost your pup’s health and lifestyle in 2009.

Exercise Together. Both you and your best friend will benefit from more daily exercise. Make sure to walk with him at least twice a day to burn off extra calories and pent-up energy…he’ll love you for it and it’s good for you too! And don’t forget the mental exercise. Engage him with a treat dispensing toy or let him hunt for food by hiding treats in spots around the house for him to sniff out.

Visit the Vet. Schedule a vet check up and keep your pup up-to-date on vaccinations. This is essential for your dog’s good health.

Create a Dog Health Record. Stop by to download a free Dog Health History Form. It’s all you need to track your dog’s health and help his vet provide better care.

Cut the Scraps. If you don’t feed table scraps to your dog, he’ll stop begging. It’s that easy. This year, only feed him the goodies from his food bowl so those pleading eyes won’t wear you down.

Groom On. Commit to maintaining a good grooming schedule. Regular baths, nail clipping, and teeth brushing all keep your dog healthy.

Learn a New Trick. Take a class with your dog – anything from a refresher course with a trainer to maintain his good behavior to fun classes like agility and flyball offered at your local SPCA.

Research Resources. This is your year to lock in good pet-sitting resources long before you schedule a trip. Take the time now to read reviews, visit facilities and meet petsitters to find just the right fit for dog care while you’re away.

Help a Shelter. Reach out to pets in need by volunteering to walk and care for shelter dogs in your community. Commit as little as one day a month to start. Your efforts to help to socialize shelter dogs makes it easier for them to find permanent, loving homes.

Thank you to John Hammond for the photo.