If you’ve already made your New Year’s resolutions, it’s time to turn to the well-being of your dog. It’s a new year and the perfect opportunity to establish new routines that will make the new year your dog’s healthiest and happiest year yet.
Here are some ideas to make the upcoming year a healthy, happy, and all around fantastic year for your dog.
Prepare for the Unexpected
Add the numbers of a 24/7 animal poison control center and your nearest 24/7 vet hospital to your cell phone and place the numbers near your home phone. Create a pet first aid kit and place a pet rescue window alert on an outside window of your home to notify firefighters there are pets inside. Create a pet evacuation kit, something you may not have thought before the devastating wildfires and hurricaines this past year (here’s what to include from ready.gov).
Lastly, make sure your dog’s ID tags and microchip records are updated if your phone number or address has changed. And if your dog is not microchipped, visit your vet or local clinic to get one.
Walk your pup at least twice a day to burn off extra calories, release pent-up energy and keep your dog healthy…he or she will love you for it and it’s good for you too! See Woof Report’s tips for fun indoor games you can play together on rainy or snowy dates.
Let the Games Begin
Engage your dog in mental exercise as well with treat dispensing and puzzle toys and a weekly game of hide-and-seek. And vow to teach your dog of any age (older dogs included) a new trick once or twice a month. Pick up Kyra Sundance’s fun instructional book, 101 Dog Tricks, or start with two of our favorite tricks – teach your dog how to give kisses (easy and adorable) and teach your dog to find an object by name.
Visit the Vet
Schedule a vet visit to make sure your dog is in good health. Keep your pup up-to-date on vaccinations and maintain a regular schedule of heartworm and flea and tick preventives. These items are essential for your dog’s good health.
Create a Dog Health Record
Stop by WoofReport.com to download a free Dog Health History Form. It’s all you need to track your dog’s health and help your dog’s vet provide better care.
Feed Your Dog Well
Take time to research your dog’s food and the other options that are available to make sure he’s getting the very best. Visit the independent websites dogfoodadvisor.com and whole-dog-journal.com to learn how to choose the best food and how various brands stack up.
Commit to maintaining a good grooming schedule. Regular brushing, bathing, nail clipping and weekly teeth brushing all keep your dog healthy, comfortable and looking good.
Try Something New
Take a class with your dog – anything from a refresher course with a trainer to maintain your dog’s good behavior to fun classes like agility and flyball offered at your local SPCA. Or maybe this is your dog’s year to help others and look into training him to become a therapy dog!
Help Your Dog Help Others
Could your dog become a therapy dog and visit nearby hospitals or clinics to brighten up some people’s moods. Or if your dog likes reading, sign him up to be a library dog, and have kids read her stories at your local library; everyone knows, dogs are much more forgiving
Teach an Old Dog a New Trick
Of course it can be done! Just like people, you’d expect a dog’s cognition to improve the more his brain is used.
Help a Shelter
Not all pets are as lucky as yours, so help pets in need by donating money, goods, or your time (your dog will be happy to share you for a good cause). There are many ways to volunteer – from taking photos of shelter pets, to fostering, and posting profiles of available pets online. Begin with a minimal time commitment if it makes it easier to get started.
Start a Pet Savings Account
Regularly put aside money in a dedicated savings account or simply in tuck it an envelope, and use it for vet care, grooming or even a new collar when your dog’s wardrobe needs a boost.
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 pet sitters to find just the right fit for dog care while you’re away.
Spend Quality Time with Your Dog
Give your dog your undivided attention each and every day. Play with your dog or cuddle on the couch and give your pup an extended ear rub. Plan to get out and about with your dog. And get to know and understand your dog’s likes and dislikes to improve and strengthen your bond.
Clean the Pup Stuff
Round up all of your dog’s toys and give them a good washing and launder all your dog’s bedding. Then make a plan to keep up the clean – for instance, wash your dog’s toys the first of each month and your dog’s bedding every other time you wash your sheets.
Read the Woof Report
Keep reading Woof Report to learn how to best care for your dog, and sign up for Woof Report Weekly Email newsletters (coming again soon) so you don’t miss a tip! Please share Woof with others with dogs too.
Happy New Year!