The power of dogs never ceases to amaze us. In addition to being our cuddly companions and faithful sidekicks, dogs have been shown to promote heart health, reduce feelings of loneliness in seniors and act as stress relievers and motivators for children. One thing they can’t do, however, is make plans for their long-term health and happiness. That’s where you come in. While you’re making New Year’s resolutions for yourself, why not include a couple that are geared toward keeping your dog in tip-top shape? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Exercise their bodies (and their minds)
Obesity is on the rise in the pet population. In fact, according to Banfield Pet Hospital’s State of Pet Health Report, 1 in 3 dogs in the U.S. is overweight or obese. Extra pounds can contribute to other health issues, including joint conditions such as osteoarthritis. Help your dog stay at a healthy weight by making sure they get regular exercise. That can include walks, jogs through the park or a game of fetch. And as an added bonus, it keeps you active as well!
Physical activity is important, but mental exercise is a component of their overall health as well. Dogs that are mentally stimulated are less likely to get bored or be destructive. Reinforcing basic obedience training, using puzzle toys and playing hide-n-seek are a few ways you can keep their minds engaged.
Brush up on at-home dental care
Regular dental care does more than keep your dog’s teeth white and their breath fresh. Dental disease is very common in dogs and can put them at increased risk for infection or issues related to the heart or kidneys. Professional dental cleanings are the best way to keep your dog’s teeth and gums in good condition, but you can do your part in between cleanings by regularly brushing their teeth. It may take a little practice (and patience) to get into a good routine, but it’s worth it for their long-term health.
Whistle while you work
Many dogs are home alone while we’re at work. That makes it hard to know what they’re doing during a good part of the day. A Whistle GO tracker can help fill in some of the blanks. These devices monitor licking, scratching, activity and sleep, and will send notifications if they detect a change in behavior patterns. This information can help you and your veterinarian stay on top of your dog’s preventive care.
Dig into the details
The more you know about your dog, the more proactive and specific you can be about their care. Understanding your dog’s breed ancestry and genetics can help inform everything from the veterinary care they need to the food they eat. It can also help you form training and behavior modification plans that take into account their natural tendencies and dispositions. A WISDOM PANEL™ dog DNA test can unlock some of these secrets.
Commit to quality time
We saved the best for last! Our dogs love spending time with us as much as we love being around them. Carve out time each day to just be with your pet. Whether it’s a few extra minutes curled up on the couch or an evening stroll in the neighborhood, your dog will appreciate that time to bond with their favorite human.
Here’s to many happy, healthy moments in 2020!