Monday, December 31, 2007

Ten New Year's Resolutions for Dog Owners

Still trying to come up with a good New Year's Resolution? How about doing something that will both benefit your dog and make you feel good? Check out these ten resolutions courtesy of

1. Make sure your dog sees a veterinarian at least once a year for annual exams. This includes keeping its vaccine status up-to-date and checking for dental health, lumps and bumps, heart murmurs and other things an owner may not notice at home.

2. Be consistent with at-home health care for your dog, and give prescribed medication as directed.

Keep your pet on year-round, monthly heartworm preventative. Regularly use flea/tick prevention, even if you have an indoor pet.

3. Get some sort of pet identification, whether it be a tag or a microchip. Photos are also a good way to help identify your pet if it should become lost. In general, try not to let your dog roam free. Keep it on a leash or in a fenced yard.

4. Pay attention to your dog. They get bored and may become destructive without attention.

Polish up your dog's manners. Practice at home or go to obedience classes. Teach him a new, fun, interactive game like fetch or speak. It keeps your dog motivated. Learn pet massage. Not only can this help to give relief to older, arthritic animals, it is also a good way to bond with your dog.

5. Pay attention to your pup's hygiene. Trim the fat! Exercise and limit treats. Groom your dog regularly. It's interactive and it's good to get dead hair out of the coat. You may also discover lumps or bumps that need to be checked by your veterinarian. Brush your dog's teeth and/or have a professional take care of your dog's dental hygiene. Learn to clip your dog's toenails or take them somewhere to have them clipped. Long nails are uncomfortable and sometimes grow into foot pads or break, which is very painful.

6. Spay and neuter your dog. Not only does it decrease the pet population, but it also has a lot of health benefits for the animal.

7. Make sure collars fit properly, and check the collar often. You should be able to slide two fingers underneath the collar. Try a pet halter called a Gentle Leader. You avoid tugging and pulling on your dog's neck. It's especially good for unruly, big dogs.

8. Pet proof your house. Keep poisons in locked cabinets, keep poisonous plants and electrical cords out of reach.

9. Learn a fun fact about your dog's breed. Research traits of a breed before buying it.

10. Donate money or items to your local animal shelter.

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