We asked holistic vet, author, and member of Rover’s Dog People Panel, Dr. Gary Richter, what New Year’s resolutions he would recommend for all dogs. His answers may surprise you!
Dr. Richter’s resolutions focus on regular healthcare, which gives your dog her best chance at a long and happy life. Let’s take a look.
1. Brush teeth every day
Oral care for dogs is an easy but often overlooked key to a long and healthy life. Here’s the scoop on how to get started: How to Brush Your Dog’s Teeth (and Keep All Your Fingers). Regular professional cleanings can also help stave off plaque and infections.
Dog Toothpaste and Brushes $12.95
2. Change to a fresh, balanced diet
Dr. Richter is a big proponent of fresh, whole foods for our pets, and offers many ideas for making this change in his book The Ultimate Pet Health Care Guide. Can’t afford or don’t have the time to prepare a fresh or raw diet at home? Small changes can make a big difference.
Consider switching to a grain-free kibble, and adding fresh or freeze-dried fruits and veggies to your pet’s current diet (some great suggestions here). You can also try a fresh-cooked dog food company like Evermore or a delivery service like The Farmer’s Dog.
3. Twice-yearly checkups
Just like the old saying goes, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’ Regular vet checkups can extend your pet’s life. Routine weight checks, going over your dog for lumps and bumps (here’s how to do it at home, too), keeping vaccines and medications up to date, dental cleaning, and nail trims all keep your dog in tip-top form.
Plus, it’s nice to know you have a second pair of eyes on your best friend. Sometimes slow changes over time can be hard to notice in our loved ones, and an outsider can quickly notice a change in behavior or appearance that we haven’t consciously seen.
4. Get more exercise
It’s good for you and your dog! Make it a point to spend time enjoying your local trails and parks. You won’t be just making a healthy choice, you’ll be making memories with your best friend. Spend time daily tossing a ball, playing tug-o-war, or chasing each other a little bit. It’s good fun, good exercise, and a bonding experience.
5. Regular brushing and massages
Brushing your dog is not only good for skin and coat care, but it’s also a great bonding opportunity. Regular brushing prevents mats and snarls in longer-haired dogs, and helps keep fur from taking over your home.
Giving your dog a massage can be a wonderful opportunity to connect, as well, in addition to providing health benefits such as muscle relaxation and relief from joint pain.
Canine Massage Manual $9.99 Kindle Edition
6. Do your homework before every vet visit
- Bring a list of the type and amount of food and treats being fed
- Bring a list of all medications and supplements being given
- Make a list ahead of time of any questions or concerns you have. This way you can make sure to have all of your questions addressed.
And that’s it! What’s on your list for your dog this year?