I have some New Year’s resolutions in mind for myself, but I was thinking about ways that I can improve the life of my dog in 2018 as well. Any tips on how to make sure that 2018 is my pup’s best year yet?
Healthy resolutions in The Heights
Dear Healthy Resolutions,
While humans all over the world are spending time this month considering their past failures and dreaming of future success, it is a good idea to keep Fido in mind when planning for a fruitful year of happiness and good health.
Much like most American’s resolutions, the biggest thing you can do to make sure that Fido starts the new year healthy is to consider his diet and exercise habits. These days, grain-free is the biggest buzzword in pet food. The truth is, the canine digestive system is still pretty primitive. Dogs have little natural digestive support for breaking down and metabolizing complex carbohydrates and cereal grains. These difficult-to-digest fibers and grains remain undigested, with the body relying mainly on fermentation to break them down, and well, you know how that smells. Over a long period of time, this can damage the lining of the digestive system, resulting in bowel inflammation disorders, food sensitivities, food allergies, leaky gut and obesity. So, finding a pet food that is as high-quality as your budget allows is a great idea for the New Year.
Big or small, young or old, dogs need to exercise daily. While some breeds have special needs that have to be taken into account, and dogs do slow down as they age, they still need to take part in some form of daily physical activity. Without activity, your dog will become bored, frustrated and unhealthy. Exercise tones the muscles, helps the body and metabolic system to function properly, and engages the mind. Anyone who has had a dog that suffers from lack of physical activity and mental stimulation will tell you that they will often turn to destructive behaviors — behaviors that magically disappear once the dog is getting out everyday.
Physically, dogs will also become obese if they are not allowed to burn off the calories they take in during the day. This is especially true if they are being given a lot of treats in compensation for lack of attention.
Schedule A Check-Up
While you might also be considering a visit to your doctor to get that strange mole finally checked out, think back to the last time Fido was at the vet. Vets suggest that dogs between the ages of 1-10 years see a vet once a year for a “tail to nose” check up. For elderly pets, vets recommend twice yearly check ups. During these visits, your vet can guide you in vaccinating your dog for the appropriate diseases as will address any concerns you might have.
Check Out A Dog Park
Aside from these pet resolutions, if you’ve never taken Fido to a dog park, this might be the year to do it. Socialization can be fun for some dogs and it’s certainly fun when humans find a new friend at the park as well. With a few lifestyle enhancements, and checking off some pet-related vet visits off of your list, both you and Fido can enjoy a healthy 2018.
Do you have a question for Tabby? If so, email her at dear firstname.lastname@example.org
Pet of the Week
Meet Honeybear. This 6-7 year old Chi-Weenie lived on the streets for a long time before she found her way into a rescue group. Now, safely in a foster home, she’s beginning to come out of her shell and has discovered that belly rubs are pretty much the best thing ever invented! With a little patience and lots of love, Honeybear will become the highlight of your 2018! To learn more, visit the Animal Justice League website at www.animaljusticeleague.org