31 December 2011

New Year's Resolutions for Dog Owners

When I saw this assignment in my in-box, all I could think about were the years of broken resolutions.  Long ago I gave up giving things up – what is the point if you don’t stick with it anyway? Instead I started looking at the New Year as an opportunity for improvements. That method works much better for me. 2012 is a leap year and I would love to see us dog-people leap into improving our lives and those of our “fur family” members too. Here are some tips to get you started. 

Food - This year let’s try and feed our dogs the most nutritious diet we can. Does your food pass the dog food taste test? This doesn’t mean that your dog will eat it, but rather that you would eat it. If you wouldn’t eat the kibble, why would you expect your dog to eat it? If you aren’t sure about what your dog eats, you can learn how to read the labels. While you are at it, keep your dog at a healthy weight. Overweight dogs live shorter lives and can lead to conditions like diabetes. Keep your dog’s weight appropriate for his size. 

Exercise – I would love it if you were walking your dogs every day for about 45-minutes. It is great for them and for you too! Exercise helps them both physically and mentally and for those of you that have been in my classes you’ll recognize this statement: A tired dog is a good dog. Under the exercise umbrella I would add playing with your dog and really important, training your dog. 

Grooming – Brushing your dog and taking care of their basic maintenance is a great time for the two of you to bond. If you aren’t comfortable doing toenails, have a reputable groomer show you how or at the very least get your dog in to have toenails worked on.  In the Minneapolis area you can have a mobile groomer stop by to help with grooming tasks. 

Appreciate – sometimes we forget to make or take time to really appreciate our companions. Enjoy their personalities, their quirks, their successes. Build a strong relationship with your dog and help them live successfully in your home.

Please share your tips and resolutions in the comments. 

Happy New Year!

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