A brand, new year is the perfect time to reflect on the past, start fresh and resolve to make some positive changes. And what better way to stick to your resolutions than to have a buddy along for support? You may just find that a lot of things that benefit you can also be good for your dog.
Not sure where to start? Here are just a few suggestions of things you and your dog can do together so you can both live your best lives.
Did you know that January is National Walk Your Dog Month? If that isn’t a sign to get out with your best friend for some fresh air and exercise, we don’t know what is. Walking is an excellent aerobic activity you can both enjoy, whether it’s a stroll around the neighbourhood or a hike in the woods. And if you’re not up for a walk, there are other things you can do together to stay in shape. Go out to the dog park and throw the ball around, take a doggy yoga (Doga) class together (yes, it’s a thing) or build an obstacle course in the back yard. Get creative, it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you’re active and you do it together.
Who doesn’t love a snack here and there? It’s so easy to overdo it sometimes, especially during the holidays. The same goes for our pets. If your dog is mostly sedentary and his diet is high in calories, the odds are he’s on his way to becoming overweight. Obesity is a common problem facing pets today and can lead to such health issues as diabetes, arthritis, and respiratory disease, to name a few. Feeding a healthy, balanced diet, measuring your pet’s food and cutting back on treats or replacing some with healthier alternatives are all ways to help keep your dog on track.
Whether you play a game of tug-of-war or cuddle on the couch, spending one-on-one time with your dog helps strengthen your bond and reduces your stress level. It’s a proven fact that hugging your dog provides a number of benefits for both you and your pup. When you give your dog a hug, your brain releases Oxytocin, the “feel good” hormone that helps reduce stress and anxiety and lowers your heart rate and blood pressure. It also helps your dog feel calm and secure. Teaching your dog a new trick, grooming them more often or taking an agility class are all great examples of time well-spent together.
Regular wellness checks are essential to maintaining good health and that goes for both you and your dog. Keeping up with vaccinations is important for long term health and a visit to the vet will not just confirm that your pup is doing well but may also detect any potential medical concerns that can be dealt with right away, avoiding more serious issues later on. After all, you want your dog to live a long, happy and healthy life.
Making resolutions is easy. Keeping them can sometimes be a little more difficult but having your best friend by your side is a great way to stay motivated and focussed on your goals for the new year and the perfect opportunity to strengthen your bond.