New Year’s resolutions have become almost a joke for most of us. How many of us make resolutions every year, knowing that they will be broken before the new year rolls in? Some of the most common resolutions are to eat healthier, exercise more, and save money. Most things we do are more fun with a buddy, so here are some New Year’s resolutions for dog owners that may help you and your four-legged best friend succeed with your goals in the new year!
Since we control what our pets eat, it is generally our fault if our dogs are overweight. I love giving my dogs treats, but since my Ella is an “easy keeper”, I have to find snacks that are healthier for her. Luckily, she loves Charlee Bear’s Bear Crunch with only three calories per treat! If you have a pup that struggles with their weight, green beans are a wonderful choice that will make them feel full without adding calories! Often, just eating slower will help your dog feel full, so you might want to try a Portion Pacer or a slow feeder to make the meals last longer.
Years ago my veterinarian told me to put one of my Labs (I was showing her and weight was an issue) on the “green bean diet.” At each meal, I would cut back her kibble by ½ cup and would give her at least a ½ cup of canned green beans. The beans are low in calories but they made her feel full, so it was a painless way for her to “diet.” As an added benefit, she loved them so it was a “treat!”
Too dark to go outside and walk or exercise? Not with Nite Ize!! This company has awesome products such as the Nite Dawg LED Dog Collar. This collar features high- visibility LED that illuminates fully around your dog’s neck. If your dog loves chasing & fetching, the FlashFlight Dog Discuit or the Nite Dawg Soft Disc are a perfect choice! Maybe the Huck ‘N Tuck GlowStreak Collapsible Thrower and LED Ball are just what your dog needs to get in that evening exercise!
If you are going out for an evening stroll the Kong HandiPOD Starter Kit has everything you need, including a flashlight! The flashlight has 100 lumen LED (and comes complete with batteries). The kit also features hand sanitizing gel and biodegradable pick-up bags. The bags are high-quality and have tie handles.
Another huge favorite of mine is the new Radiant 3-in-1 Flashlight from Nite Ize. In fact, I bought two of them for Christmas gifts this year!! Not only is it a super bright (250 lumens) flashlight, but it has seven modes, including a lantern feature!! No excuse for not getting exercise in the evening!
Get More Rest
Most of us could use more rest (which might make us more energetic for all this new exercise) and your dog would probably appreciate a new bed. In fact, the Bella Orthopedic Mattress is so amazingly supportive and comfortable, I wish they made one for me! This is the first bed I’ve seen that is designed so that even big dogs don’t sink to the floor!
Check out the beautiful Laura Ashley® Pillow, Roll-Away and Cuddler Dog Beds from Beatrice Home Fashions. We also have new Jacquard Pillow Beds and Chenille Pillow Beds that will give your pup the best sleep ever, ensuring they’ll be ready stick with that exercise/play program!
Learn a New Skill
Maybe you’ve been thinking about going back to school or learning a new hobby. Now is also the perfect time to teach your dog a new skill. If your dog doesn’t know “sit,” that’s a good starting point. If you have an obedience star, then how about a new sport such as agility or rally obedience? One of my very favorite activities to teach is scent discrimination or “nose works.” This activity actually encourages my dog to do what she does naturally: use her nose!
Remember that when training any new behaviors, you should reward the effort and keep the training sessions short. Most dogs love learning new behaviors, but short, positive sessions are more fun for you and your dog. Always end each session with a “win,” even if it is just doing a simple behavior that your dog has done many times before! Your enthusiasm will be contagious and your dog will look forward to the next session. If you need any help with training questions, please email or call me anytime!
Travel More Often
If you’ve been bitten by the travel bug, consider taking a vacation where your dog can accompany you. A quick internet search will reward you with a plethora of pet-friendly accommodations and activities all over the country. Keep in mind that if you fly with your pet, you should check with the airline in advance to make sure your crate is compliant, as well as what medical records you need to bring with your pet. If you’re traveling by car, make sure your dog is safe, either in a car seat (for small dogs) or with a seat belt restraint (for larger dogs).
For more information about traveling with pets, see my “8 Handy Tips for Traveling with Pets” blog.
Drink More Water
We know how important it is for us to drink plenty of water, and the same is true for your pet. Always provide plenty of clean, fresh water for your dogs and cats. Did you know that as a general guideline for water consumption, a healthy dog should drink between ½ and 1 ounce of water per pound of body weight each day? So a healthy 65-pound Labrador, for example, should drink 33 to 65 ounces of water daily.
Save More Money
As a part of our Jeffers family, you know that we are always trying to offer you the best quality products at affordable prices. We are doing our very best every day to help you with the “saving money” part of your new life choices!
Happy New Year and best wishes on adopting some new, positive lifestyle changes for you and your four-legged buddy. I’d love to hear your success stories so please call or email me anytime!
Renee Jones, CPDT-KSA, is a certified professional dog trainer, having received instruction from canine behaviorist Dr. Pamela Reid, plus nationally acclaimed trainers: Patricia McConnell, Pia Silvani, and Jean Donaldson, to name a few. She is a member of the Association of Professional Dog Trainers (APDT) and the International Association of Animal Behavior Consultants (IAABC). She serves as a Pet Marketing and Canine Specialist for Jeffers Pet and JeffersPet.com.
This blog is a general guideline only. It should not supersede the guidance of a licensed veterinary professional.