By Dr. Laura Lane
A fresh new year is a blank slate with endless possibilities for adventure and growth. Who better to be at your side for those adventures than your four-legged best friend! Even better, make resolutions to help both of you enjoy the year to its fullest. Here are 5 ideas suggested by Dr. Laura Lane of Tail Animal Chiropractic Care for New Year’s Resolutions to get you started:
#1. Increase Exercise:
Make taking a walk a daily activity! If hanging on the couch and cuddling your pup has become a recurrent theme, now is the time to change that up to healthier habits! Increasing activity leads to improved health and wellness for both you and your dog.
#2. Try New Activities:
Is your go-to activity with your dog just playing fetch? Make it a goal for the year to try new activities. It may be as simple as visiting a new park once a week, regularly picking a new trail to hike, or can be more challenging, like setting up a new daily 15-minute game to play with your dog (tug-of-war, hide and seek, or hide/find a toy are great options to start!) Trying new activities and a variety of activities not only keep you and your dog engaged but helps build a better bond between you as well!
#3. Engage the Brain:
Make it a goal to teach your dog one new trick a week! This is great relationship building for you and your dog and can be a good way to work on manners that sometimes get forgotten as well. From greeting people with a shake of the paw, to rolling over, the options for tricks, both fun and useful, are endless! The puzzle of teaching the trick is great for your brain, and learning something new (or brushing up on an old skill) is great for their brain, so win, win!
#4. Choose Healthier Foods:
We know eating healthier foods and snacking less on unhealthy choices helps us, but have you thought about how it affects your dog? Did you know veterinarians recommend treats and snacks make up only 10% or less of your dog’s calories each day? There is no better way to get on a healthier food trend than for the sake of your dog! It’s hard to resist giving treats to those cute begging eyes or grabbing yourself some candy from the candy dish, but choosing healthier snacks can have a positive impact on you and your pet’s health. Another great option for those whose dog is a little hefty is to set a goal to use a standard measuring cup for dog food. This allows you to accurately track how much your pup is eating and ensure it is the best amount for your pet, or adapt as needed. (your veterinarian can help with that as needed!)
#5. Quality Time:
Another idea is to plan for regular quality time with your pet. This can be done in many ways, from planning slower walks to starting an evening routine that includes a massage for your pet. Massage not only feels good, but it also deepens your connection with your pet and is a great way to better notice something abnormal with your pet. In addition, this is a great opportunity to practice meditation and calming. As your dog relaxes, you’ll find it helps you relax and get into a better frame of mind as well.
A new year is a great time to set goals for new and better habits, and there’s no better accountability partner to help you stay on track than your pup.