The new year is fast approaching and it’s time to think about what you want to accomplish in 2020! January is a great time to drop last year’s bad habits and better yourself — but you don’t have to tackle your New Year’s resolution list alone.
The goals of healthy humans and healthy pets often go hand-in-paw, so we put together some New Year’s resolutions you can make with your best friend. After all, it’s still the year of the dog, isn’t it?
Make Time to Exercise with Dogs
Exercise is usually at the top of most people’s New Year’s resolution list. Physical activity is beneficial for healthy human living, and the same goes for dogs. A proper exercise routine improves a dog’s physical and mental health and can assist in reducing unwanted behaviors caused out of boredom or anxiety.
How can you get your pup up and moving with you? Here are some activities to try:
- Say yes to more walks!
It’s crucial for dogs to get out and walk beyond the constraints of a backyard. Just because dogs are outside, it doesn’t mean they are getting proper exercise on their own. Start by committing even just a small amount of time – like 10 minutes per day – to walking your dog, and eventually, it’ll become second nature.
- Go for a swim
Swimming is a great exercise for dogs. It can reduce stress, relieve pain and is considered joint-friendly for older pets. If you don’t own a pool, you might want to consider finding dog-friendly beaches (as well as hotels, restaurants, and more!) near you with BringFido.
- Take your pup on a hike
Taking your dog on a nice hike is a fun way for both of you to stay active. You don’t need to trek the most extreme trails, a nice walk through your local nature trail will do.
Not only is it good exercise, but it also gives your pup the opportunity to sniff around and explore a different environment.
- Schedule more playtime
Remember you’re not restricted to taking walks, and you can get creative with how you can exercise with your dog. Playing with a frisbee, ball, or rope are fantastic ways to get up and moving with your canine friend.
If your dog requires specialized attention for certain conditions or ailments, consider investing in fitness equipment that can be used at home. Brands like FitPAWS make fitness, conditioning, and rehab gear for canines. Having a fitness routine for your dog is important because it can reduce the chance of injury, act as an appropriate outlet for their energy and provide an opportunity to bond with your pet.
Prepare Healthier Meals for Both You and Your Dog
Diet is arguably the most important part of a healthy lifestyle, and like the importance of exercise, the same goes for dogs. Feeding your dog healthy food doesn’t have to break the bank. You can simply pick up foods at the grocery store to prepare for your pup at home.
Here are some of the benefits of cooking healthy, nutritious food for your dog:
- Builds stronger muscles
- Promotes better digestion
- Helps dogs’ skin and coats
- No additives, so you know exactly what’s in it
Switching your dog’s diet to fresh food helps keep them at healthy body weight, and healthy body weight has been linked to a 20% longer life.
So, what can dogs eat? Luckily, a healthy canine diet consists of foods we’re already familiar with. Here are some examples of great things to feed your pup:
- Lean chicken or turkey (skinless and boneless)
- Ground or cubed beef
- Whole grains like brown rice, wheat, couscous, oatmeal, and quinoa
It can understandably be intimidating to plan meals for both yourself and dog. But these ingredients sound tasty, don’t they? There are plenty of recipes both you and your dog can eat – just make sure to keep allergies in mind and consult your vet if you’re unsure about certain ingredients.
Sometimes diet alone doesn’t help with certain struggles dogs face as they get older. Adding certain supplements to their normal feeding routine may be a good option. There are many brands, like Doggie Dailies, that create probiotics and supplements to help dogs with hip and joint pain. While supplements can be beneficial for dogs, ask your vet before incorporating them into your pup’s routine.
The mere thought of potty training dogs can be intimidating but with enough patience and practice, it’s an easy feat. Stick to a regular feeding schedule and take your pup out often to avoid accidents and get them associated with where they should go potty.
- Stop chewing shoes
The process of teaching your dog to stop chewing shoes doesn’t have to involve professional dog training. If you see your dog chewing on a shoe (or anything else they shouldn’t be!) distract them with a loud noise, like a clap. Encourage them to chew on a bone or toy instead, while praising their new behavior.
- Save the furniture
The process of puppy training often takes a toll on your furniture. If your pup is keen on scratching, chewing, or having accidents on your sofa be sure to address the issue immediately. Teaching your dog to leave the furniture alone doesn’t have to involve punishment on your part – there are plenty of natural ways to encourage your dog to leave it alone. Spraying your furniture with scents canines dislike (like citrus, mothballs, or chili peppers) will allow you to mark your territory and keep the dog away.
- Keep your dog out of the trash
A rebellious pup who likes to get in the trash is more than just an annoyance to the human who must clean it. Trash digging can be very dangerous for a dog because they can swallow foods and materials extremely hazardous to them. Start by being strategic with your trash can placement and put it out of reach of your dog. By keeping your dog engaged and introduce training and other deterrents, your pup will forget he liked the trash can in the first place. You can start your new puppy’s training early with these obedience and care tips to reap the benefits of a well-trained dog and closer bond.
Don’t Forget to Include Mental Stimulation
Humans might find mental stimulation in the form of reading books or trying their hand at a crossword puzzle, but did you know that dogs like to break a mental sweat too? Keeping your dog mentally stimulated helps them stay sharp and may even lessen other disastrous behavior (like the bad habits discussed above!).
There are easy ways to seamlessly introduce mental stimulation into your dog’s routine:
On their own:
Puzzle games are a great investment for dogs that get bored easily and need more mental exercise. These toys are also helpful in keeping your dog busy while you’re away. Slide puzzles treat balls, and flip boards are all awesome toys for your pup.
Chewy has a long list of interactive toys for dogs that will be sure to keep pups focused and sharp all by themselves.
Playtime with your dog doesn’t always mean playing fetch outside. Games like hide-and-seek, basic nose work, and treat hunting will keep you and your dog occupied and bonding.
Don’t be intimidated by the thought of learning and doing nose work. Basic nosework is easy to learn with your dog and the benefits are priceless; including mental stimulation, physical exercise, confidence, and is a great way to bond with your furry friend.
Set Long-term Health Goals
Committing to a happy and healthy lifestyle means more than just changing little day-to-day habits. For humans, it might mean taking time to visit the doctor for symptoms and check-ups that often get pushed aside. For canines, it might mean more trips to the vet.
In addition to better diets and more exercise, New Year’s resolutions for your healthy pets should include keeping up with vaccines and medications. With Prudent Pet, you don’t have to worry about breaking the bank in order to keep your pup healthy. Prudent Pet’s head-to-tail pet insurance allows you to have affordable coverage for the furry member of your family. Get your free quote now!