Most of us end a year with intentions of how the next year will be our best yet. Many have resolutions from losing weight to saving money to maybe bigger things like buying a house or having a baby. What about our furry family members? They have resolutions too!
Here are the top 5 pet resolutions (from their point of view) of 2017 and our advice on how we can help our pets achieve them.
ONE: “I promise to take my heart-worm and flea/tick prevention regularly and won’t spit it out! I know it helps me in the long run by preventing diseases.”
As a responsible pet parent, parasite prevention including heartworm protection may seem overwhelming. However, recent innovations in the science of heartworm prevention have made it easier than ever to protect your pet from harmful parasites with a single heartworm and flea pill or application. Here is a helpful chart that compares various preventatives. Of course, ask your vet what is best for your pet.
TWO: “I will be more cooperative about getting my teeth brushed.”
Daily (or a minimum frequency three days a week) teeth brushing is the single best (and least costly) way to maintain good oral health. Most dogs will get very comfortable with this once it becomes a routine — some even come to love brushing thanks to flavored toothpastes (cats too!).
THREE: “I will exercise enough for my age and breed to keep me in tip top health!”
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.
Though exercise needs are based on a dog’s age, breed, size and overall health, your dog should spend between 30 minutes to two hours on an activity every day. Breeds in the hunting, working, or herding groups (e.g., Labrador retrievers, hounds, collies and shepherds) will need the most exercise. If your dog is in one of these groups and is in good health, she should be getting at least 30 minutes of rigorous exercise along with her 1-2 hours of daily activity. Here is a helpful chart:
FOUR: “I will work on my leash obedience and focus on my parent when on a walk. I will also not pull so much!”
You might remember our article on harnesses in October, if not, click here. If you have a dog that pulls while walking check out the section on the Easy Walk front clip harness or the Gentle Leader. We NEVER recommend using a choke chain or pinch collar, as this uses pain to reinforce behavior and don’t really work in the long run.
FIVE: “I promise to work on not barking so much when someone rings the doorbell or knocks on the door”
This is a common issue with many dogs. What works best is to not yell and them to stop or be quiet. You must remove a reward from undesirable behavior and you acknowledging them can mistakenly reinforce behavior. Instead try time outs. Give your dog a prompt, such as “ONE MORE” in a firm voice if he/she barks again say “TOO BAD” and put them in the bathroom for 10 seconds. The bathroom is a good space because there are no rewards, no water, beds, toys, etc. Your dog will not want to miss out on what is happening and will learn that “ONE MORE” means they go away and will stop barking. It usually takes about 10 times.
If you have any questions about any of the above, contact us! Good luck and Happy New Year!