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New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Dog in 2017


With 2016 coming to an end, it is time to reflect upon the past year with an eye toward the future.  What change can you make in 2017 that will positively impact your life?  Better yet, what changes can you make in 2017 that will pawsitively impact your dog’s life?  The following are a few suggestions dog-and-owner New Year’s resolutions.

Exercise More
More than 50% of household dogs in America are obese, as well as 70% of Americans.  Besides helping to maintain a healthy weight, there are numerous benefits of daily exercise.  These include enhanced mood, better canine behavior, improved sleep, and a reduced risk of developing disease.  Incorporating just 5 – 10 more minutes of exercise per day can make a big difference in both you and your dog’s lives!

Get Outside your Comfort Zone
As the saying goes:  nothing ventured, nothing gained.  Getting outside your personal comfort zone can lead to better relationships and more opportunities.  For your dog, new experiences are a vital component of socialization.  Try a new activity in 2017 together, such as a dog-and-owner exercise class, going to a dog-friendly event, or exploring somewhere new.

Preventative Care
When was the last time you had a physical exam?  Both you and your dog should receive annual exams to check for signs of declining health.  If your pet is not up to date on vaccinations or preventative medicines, schedule an appointment for both you and your dog in January.

There are many ways you can volunteer with your well-behaved pet.  If your dog is canine good citizen certified you can visit libraries, hospitals, and senior living facilities to share your pet with those in need.  Other volunteer opportunities include fostering homeless animals or helping socialize rehabilitated pets.

Eat Healthier
Did you know that not all dog food is created equally, and some brands are not as nutritious as others?  You can check the healthfulness of your dog’s food on www.dogfoodadvisor.com.  Here, each dog food variety is analyzed and given a rating based on manufacturing process and ingredients.  If your dog’s food doesn’t have a good grade, you can find one that does.  As you are considering your pet’s diet, reflect on your own.  Are there areas in which you can improve?  Healthier diets are great New Year’s resolutions.

Less Screen Time
No dog would ever complain about its owner spending less time on the phone or computer and more time cuddling (except, perhaps, a Shiba Inu).  A common New Year’s resolution is to spend more quality time with your pet.  Not only will your dog be more content and satisfied, but you will reap benefits as well.  Pet owners reportedly have lower blood pressure, decreased stress, and a longer lifespan.

Be More Playful
Studies have shown that laughing and playing has numerous health benefits.  Not only will you experience reduced levels of the stress hormone Cortisol, but the bond between you and your dog will continue to grow stronger with more play time!

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Anna Weber

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