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 2021 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.
1. 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 hurricanes 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.
2. Exercise Outdoors Together
Get outside and get active with your dog as often as possible to release pent-up energy and keep your dog fit…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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Feed Your Dog Well
Take time to research your dog’s food and the other options that are available to make sure she’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.
6. Groom On
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.
7. 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 discover the joys of nose work, a fun activity that just about any dog can do anywhere!
8. 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
9. 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.
10. Plan a Road Trip
You enjoy a weekend getaway from time to time, but how about your dog? Research dog-friendly accommodations at BringFido.com or GoPetFriendly.com and plan an escape. If you can’t commit to a weekend away, plan a day trip with your dog – explore a new park, a new town, and enjoy quality time together.
11. 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.
12. 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 pet sitters to find just the right fit for dog care while you’re away.
13. 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.
14. 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 so you don’t miss a tip! Please share Woof with others with dogs, too.
Happy New Year!