Dog New Year Resolutions

As the New Year rolls around, it is common for us to make resolutions for the year ahead.
Golden retriever close up with tongue out being stroked
Golden retriever close up with tongue out being stroked
Golden retriever close up with tongue out being stroked

As all dog owners know, your dog is an important part of your life. Any resolution you make for yourself will likely influence your dog and their life too. So why not take it one step further and think how you can be an even better dog owner?

In this article, we’ll outline some ideas for New Year resolutions for dogs – so you can enjoy a fresh start together!

1. Set aside more playtime

No dog has ever had too much playtime – dogs love to play and bond with you in the process. Often, in our busy lives, setting aside time for this play can be hard; this New Year, however, resolve to give more time to your dog than last year. Trust us: the therapeutic effects of playing with your dog cannot be measured! It will make you happier and calmer, and help you both get extra exercise too.

2. Brush their teeth more often

While dog grooming is usually taken quite seriously by owners, especially brushing their coat to prevent them shedding all over the house, brushing their teeth is often a neglected duty. A good New Year resolution for dogs and owners is to brush their teeth more often, as well as provide them with daily dental chews.

As your dog grows older, their dental hygiene will become even more important so it is best to start early. Make sure you invest in some dog toothpaste and a dog toothbrush. You can get meat flavoured dog toothpastes; you can even give them a little beforehand to get them used to the taste. You can also feed them drier and harder foods to help keep their teeth clean.

Woman throwing frisbee to dog in field

3. Take them on one new exciting walk every month

Most often, walking your dog is such a routine that we do not think of changing it. We see it as basic exercise that our dog needs. However, this dog New Year resolution should change all that! There is absolutely no reason to not take your dog on one new exciting walk on a regular basis. This means taking them for a hike, or taking them to a heritage estate (if they allow dogs on the premises), or even taking them to the beach or the woods. Your dog is guaranteed to love the excitement – and so will you.

4. Schedule regular check-ups with the vet

We rarely think of the vet unless our dog needs booster shots or if they have fallen ill. But even if your dog seems completely healthy, it is a good idea to take them to the vet for a regular check-up. Some illnesses don’t have obvious symptoms, but a check-up could catch something in its early stages. This New Year resolution for dog owners will help you keep them happy and healthy.

5. Take up a new sport with your dog

This dog resolution is for both you and your dog. Worried you are not keeping fit? Worried your dog is not getting enough exercise? This resolution fixes both of these issues. A sport is an excellent way to ensure you stick to a training schedule and keep a healthy regime of exercise. It also means your dog gets more playtime! Sport also improves practising muscle–eye coordination and reflexes for both you and your dog. Running is an excellent option and so is Ultimate Frisbee (you can practise your throws with your dog). Try something at home, or join a local class.

6. Watch their diet

Many owners simply pour their dog’s portions into a bowl, checking visually to see if it is the right amount. With such a method, your dog could be getting more calories than they require – or fewer. When your dog is young, their metabolism is relatively fast and they can burn off calories. As they get older, though, their metabolism slows and they put on weight more easily.

It is important to carefully monitor your dog’s diet to see if they are getting the right nutrients and the right amount of calories per day (adjusted against their exercise schedule; so if they exercise more, they would need more calories). Make a dog New Year resolution to look after their diet, including checking to see if they are eating the right food for their breed and age. Ask your vet for more details.

7. Buy them an exciting new toy

This New Year resolution may be more indulgent than others, but it definitely deserves a place on this list. Dogs give us so much in terms of love, loyalty and comfort that it is important to reward them and celebrate them being in our lives.

The toy does not have to be expensive – perhaps a variation on an old stuffed toy they love. Or you can buy a ‘brain teaser’ puzzle for your dog that keeps them entertained and teaches them new skills. Alternatively, a treat-dispensing toy will keep them amused when you are out of the house. Choose a toy that reflects your dog’s personality so they get the most from playtime.