10 New Year's Resolutions for Dogs and Their Parents
Congratulations, the new year is here! When the calendar flips over to January, we’re often wondering what you can do to have the best year ever for both you and your family. Of course, that family includes some of the most adorable members – our dogs.
Have you ever thought about what your dog might resolve to do in the new year? Perhaps he would want to spend more time with friends and family, exercise more, or eat better. No matter the goals, these resolutions can help you and your best friend focus on what matters – developing stronger bonds and supporting your dog’s happiness and health. Here are 10 New Year’s resolutions for dogs that you can share with your best buddy.
1. Put Safety First
Start off the new year off on the right paw with proper safety precautions for your dog. The first step is to update your dog’s ID tags if needed. Another option to consider is microchipping your dog as well.
Microchipping substantially increases the likelihood that you and your dog will be reunited should he ever become lost. The microchipping process is a virtually painless procedure that can be performed in your vet’s office and has become quite affordable in recent years. If your dog is already microchipped, make sure the information is up to date.
Another safety-themed goal is to focus on basic training. Learning some basic commands can help keep your dog safe in various situations. These commands include:
- Stay. You may need to have your dog stay put in case of an approaching car or other danger. He needs to be able to stay on command for as long as you tell him.
- Drop It. This command is key when your dog wants to eat dangerous items that may cause serious health issues.
- Come. If your dog gets too close to something or is in an area he doesn’t belong, teaching him to come to you on command can save you both a lot of headaches and heartache.
- Down. This is an important command that not only keeps your dog from jumping on guests at the door, but also stops him from trying to reach items he shouldn’t have.
2. Don't Forget to Visit Your Vet
Has your dog been to the doctor recently? Annual checkups will provide your pup with a head-to-tail examination. An annual check for heartworms is standard, while precautions like vaccines and booster shots can help protect your dog from common illnesses.
As a pet parent, you want to do all you can to help your dogs be active and healthy. Many veterinarians can also help you be proactive by doing some yearly or bi-annual blood tests to see how your dog is doing. Many offices can even put next year’s annual checkup on the calendar before you leave so you won’t forget to schedule next year!
3. Try a New Activity
We all get into the same old routine day after day. Spice things up a bit by going to new places and finding fun activities around town to help you and your best friend bond!
There are a variety of new endeavors that can help you break up your routine. Consider selecting a dog training school (some trainers are even doing virtual classes online!) to learn new tricks, practice better behavior, or meet other puppy lovers just like you! Other fun activities include traveling to new destinations for walks so that your buddy can experience all sorts of new sights, sounds, and smells.
4. Teach Your Dog a New Trick
Speaking of new tricks, take this new year to teach your dog more skills. Mark a day on the calendar each month that you learn a new one!
With some patience and a few treats, you can help teach your best friend a whole new skill. Not only will this give them a new skill, but your dog will also appreciate you for all the attention and love you give him during the process. For starters, learn how to train your dog to “kiss” in five simple steps.
5. Exercise More
It’s important to take some time out of your busy schedule each day to help your dog stay happy and healthy. One of the biggest risk factors for dogs is pet obesity, which can cause breathing problems, skin and coat issues, arthritis, and mobility concerns. Exercise can not only avoid excessive weight gain, but also help reverse obesity.
Take 15 minutes to get outside and go for a walk, throw a frisbee around, or play at the dog park. Daily walks come with a variety of health benefits for your dog. In addition, it’s also extra exercise for you as well! Our best friends mean so much to us, and if they live a long, happy, and healthy life, that’s what matters most.
Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. Dogs that are bored or not properly mentally stimulated can develop behavioral problems over time. Some great exercises for mental stimulation include basic obedience training, toys, and puzzles that reward with treats, and taking your dog to stimulating environments like hiking trails and dog parks.
6. Eat Right
Your dog’s breed, size, and activity level should all be taken into consideration when choosing the right food. This new year, consider using a measuring cup for each meal so your dog doesn’t eat too much or too little. Adjust the feeding amount up or down as you monitor his weight over time.
Portion control is only one step of the weight management process. It’s also important to feed your furry friend the right dog food to keep him happy and healthy. Bil-Jac Super Premium Dog Food is made to cater to the nutritional needs of your pet by using high-quality real chicken – and a lot of it – protecting essential amino acids and adding the right blend of vitamins and minerals.
If your dog is overweight, consider switching to Bil-Jac Reduced Fat Formula made with 30 percent less fat than Bil-Jac Adult Select. Learn more about what makes Bil-Jac so uniquely special.
7. Make More Time for Play
Training and exercise are great, but sometimes a dog just needs some simple playtime. An extra opportunity to play with his pet parent can give your dog the daily mental and physical stimulation needed to stay fit and entertained.
Buy a few new toys and have them on-hand for those indoor days. Try one of those treat puzzles from your local pet store and see just how smart your dogs are when they get their Bil-Jac Treats out.
8. Remember Doggy Dental Care
Neglecting your dog’s grin doesn’t just result in bad dog breath, it can also negatively impact a dog’s overall health. According to PetMD, a dog’s mouth is “warm, moist, and has significant nutrients present for organisms to grow on, [which makes] the oral cavity of dogs a perfect incubator for all kinds of bacteria.” So, what exactly could happen? According to the experts, the adverse effects of periodontal disease may eventually cause damage to your dog’s delicate kidney, cardiac, and brain tissue.
Nobody wants their beloved buddy dealing with health issues. Taking some simple dental health care steps at home can dramatically improve your dog’s oral care.
- Specially formulated toothpaste for dogs is the most effective means to a dog’s oral health according to the American Veterinary Dental College.
- Anti-tartar chews can be helpful in decreasing dental disease.
- Chew toys can even be beneficial in the long run if used consistently.
Check your pup’s teeth and gums daily for signs of trouble. Dental issues can cause bad breath, trouble eating, and even serious health issues. Keep an eye out for signs of broken teeth, bad breath, and bleeding or discolored gums that can signal dental issues.
You can do these dental examinations when you brush your dog’s teeth. If your dog is anxious or is hesitant to let you near his mouth, don’t be afraid to schedule a teeth cleaning session with a professional.
9. Don’t Forget to Groom Your Dog
The new year is the perfect time to finally stick to a consistent grooming routine. Regular grooming contributes to your dog’s overall health and wellbeing. It can also help you notice lumps, bumps, or skin infections. Catching these issues early can save you money on potentially more expensive treatments down the road. Here are some easy ways to make sure your pup is always fresh as a daisy and ready for cuddling:
- Brush your dog’s hair thoroughly every day. Not only does this release important oils from his skin to keep his coat healthy, it also promotes good circulation.
- Check for fleas, ticks, and other pests
- Bathe your dog regularly to keep his coat clean and shiny.
- Check ears for any signs of infection or wax buildup. Use a tissue to gently remove any debris in his ears. Just don’t put anything inside the ear!
- Keep his nails trimmed. Be careful not to clip them too short and cut into the quick, which can cause bleeding. A good guide is to cut only the lighter colored or white part of the nail, as you would your own.
- Bonus tip! Feeding your dog Bil-Jac can also help provide skin and coat support.
If you’re not able or comfortable performing these tasks – or if your dog is too skittish to let you do it – keep regular appointments with a professional groomer. They know how to get the job done. Your dog and you will both appreciate it!
10. Join the Best Friends Club
Want to have a doggone good year? Following these tips can help make for a long life and a healthy, happy dog – but there’s plenty more to learn!
To help you achieve your dog New Year resolutions, sign up for the Best Friends Club. Each month you’ll receive our exclusive email newsletter filled with dog care tips, nutrition information, training tips, fun facts, and more. You’ll also receive special members-only discounts on Bil-Jac dog food, treats, and other products. With more information and a lot of love, you can resolve to make this year the best one yet for you and your best friend.