This year, we’re celebrating a new year and the beginning of a new decade! In 2020, let’s pledge to make ourselves, and our dogs, happier! We’ve come up with 12 resolutions that are easy to incorporate and can be introduced all at once or if you prefer, one for every month of 2020.
- Take a new stance on treats! Make sure the dog treats you buy have less than 9 ingredients, are free of artificial additives, have no chemical preservatives & are free of wheat, soy and corn!
Add water to your dog’s meals! Adding water helps the digestion process and is a simple way you can make sure your dog stays hydrated. This is especially important if you feed your dog a dry food that has all moisture removed. The rule of thumb is 30% water to the amount of food. Have a picky pup? Start with a lower amount of water and gradually increase over time—and remember, (bleck!) no one likes mushy food.
- Clean those teeth! Some experts believe that proper oral health can prolong your dog’s life by 20%. Isn’t that worth the effort? Not only does brushing your pet’s teeth help prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar but it also prevents bacteria from accumulating in the mouth—these same bacteria are linked to cardiovascular (heart) health.
- Try walking on a harness and leave the collar for ID tags! Constant pressure caused by a dog pulling on collar can result in a variety of health problems. Collars tend to sit directly on the thyroid glands and trachea—opt for either a front-lead or no-pull back-lead harness instead.
- Engage in mental stimulation games! Did you know that 15 minutes of mental stimulation tires a dog as much as hours of physical exercise? Dogs have an intelligence level equal to that of a 4-yr old child. Introduce a puzzle toy, or if your pup is a beginner, try placing treats around the house at various heights and let them “smell” their way to their prize.
- Aim for a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise each day with your dog! Too cold to go outside on a walk? Try puppy push-ups (a series of having your dog sit, then down, then sit, then down…you get the picture here), do stairs (you may have to join them for a few rounds of up/down), or take a soft toy and play fetch inside. Of course there’s nothing like a walk outside—but it’s nice to know there are rainy day options, too.
- Introduce LIVE probiotics! Live probiotics help diversify the microflora in the GI tract which has numerous benefits on your pet’s health. **Make sure the probiotics you use are pet-safe and free of Xylitol**.
- Teach a new trick! There’s more than just sit and stay. Get creative! There are lots of step-by-step easy to follow guides on the internet—you’ll be surprised at how eager our pups are to learn new things—and how addictive teaching new tricks can be.
- Let your dog chew! Aim for at least one long-term chew per week as part of their diet regimen. Chewing is a natural behavior and is not only beneficial to their oral health but also their mental health. When our dogs chew, serotonin, a neurotransmitter, is released which helps support several mental functions. (Long-term equals a minimum of 10 minutes of chewing time.)
- Play! A game of hide and seek is fun for everyone. If you can’t hide yourself then hide a favorite toy or high-value treat. Make the hiding spot easy to find (at first) and then gradually make it harder over time.
- Add Sardines! High in omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, sardines help support eye and brain health. Be sure to buy sardines that are canned in water without salt added and still have the bones and skin. The bones are necessary to ensure the proper calcium to phosphorus ratio is being achieved and have no fear—the bones have been preserved and are quite mushy—even us humans could eat them. IMPORTANT NOTE: Only feed 3-5 days of the week and NEVER feed sardines that have been open for more than 24 hours.
- Kiss your dog daily and remember to have fun with them! They are here with us for such a short time—enjoy them and appreciate them.
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