by Katherine Khoo January 02, 2023 7 min read

It’s December again and a New Year is upon us with 365 blank pages for you to fill. With 2023 just around the corner, this is the time for reflection and setting new goals and intentions. While we recount the good and bad of the past year and make our new year’s resolutions, why not make some for our furbabies? We can improve the lives of our pets in many ways, and the New Year is a great time to get started.

New Year, New Dog

1) Volunteer, give back and help out

A truly paw-sitive activity for the new year is to set aside time and help at the local shelter. There are so many dogs in need and New Year is the perfect time to set some goals about how to give back and help them. There are lots of ways to do this, from volunteering to donating to fostering and adopting!

One pet positive resolution that we’d like to suggest is to give away your pup’s old items to the local shelter. One dog’s “junk” can be another dog’s treasure. Take a fresh look at your dog’s toy collection and other belongings. Set aside things that are still in a good condition but are of no interest to fido anymore. Now’s the perfect time to make space for fido’s new things, and put smiles on the faces of these shelter dogs.  

New Year, New Dog

2) Change up your walks

Walks are a wonderful way to get your pup the necessary physical exercise. Letting your dog sniff around during these walks will also provide mental stimulation. We emphasize our sense of sight, but dogs see the world through their noses and smell is the primary way they experience the world. By sniffing around, the dog can take in the environment. The scent of the environment triggers and engages them mentally. Just as we want to look around to take in the scenery, they want to sniff around to take in their environment.

So, this new year, allow your dog some sniffing time during walks. Some dog behaviourist experts recommend keeping your pup walking for 70% of the time and giving him the remaining 30% to sniff and explore the environment.

Another way to switch up your walks is to change the route. The same route can become predictable and boring for your dog. Instead, try a different route so he or she can experience new sights, sounds, and smells.  

New Year, New Dog

3) Improve oral hygiene

Don’t forget to brush those doggy teeth! Dental disease is as common in dogs as it is in humans and regular brushing is the best way to control tartar and plaque build-up. Having said this, we understand that brushing your dog's teeth may seem like a chore and some dogs won’t make it easy for you. They just won’t sit through a full tooth brushing session without rolling and squirming away.

It is very important to keep your dog’s mouth clean. When a pet develops dental disease, significant quantities of bacteria reside within the mouth. These bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel to other areas within the body, causing distant or systemic effects. Three organs that are especially susceptible to the spread of oral bacteria are the heart, the liver, and the kidneys. The bacteria that are found within the mouth of pets with dental disease are the same bacteria that are often implicated in heart diseases like endocarditis. The bacteria can infect the liver and kidney, causing inflammation and interfering with the functions of these organs. This will often lead to fever, decreased appetite, and weight loss.  

New Year, New Dog

Daily brushing is the gold standard but as earlier mentioned, may not be possible if you have an uncooperative pup. So, this new year, resolve to keep your pup’s teeth clean with one (or more) of these no-brushing solutions.

No brushing gel

Try this easy-to-use Tropiclean Fresh Breath - No Brushing Clean Teeth Gel for Dogs. This is a unique blend of powerful, natural ingredients that removes and defends against plaque and tartar without brushing.

Dental chews

Here’s a dental chew - Absolute Holistic Dental Dog Chews that is designed with 360° nubs and ridges. The design allows for better teeth cleaning, right down to the gum line while satisfying the canine instinct to chew.

Water additives.

Water Additive is a safe, natural additive you squirt in your pup's water bowl each morning. It removes plaque and tartar, eliminates harmful bacteria in the mouth, and gives your pup 12 hours of breath so fresh you won't mind the face licks.  

New Year, New Dog

4) Practice regular ear cleaning

This is one grooming task that is often overlooked by many paw parents. Ear cleaning is an important part of your dog’s grooming needs. Some dogs need more frequent ear cleaning than others. Dogs who are prone to ear infections or swim regularly often benefit from more frequent ear cleanings.

Ear cleaning is a messy task, and you may need an extra pair of hands to hold your pup if he tends to wiggle and squirm. However, ear cleaning does not require any special equipment and can be easily done at home. Here’s an article on How to Clean Dog Ears. In this article, we have listed the items to prepare and the step-by-step process on how to clean your pup’s ears.

If you do not have an ear care routine with your pup, start one this new year. Resolve to keep your pup’s ear clean and prevent infection, itchy ears, and skin. Ear cleaning is a rather simple process, but preparation is important. Do spend some time going through the How to Clean Dog Ears article before you start the cleaning process.  

New Year, New Dog

5) Eat better quality food

You are what you eat, your dog is too! Low-quality dog food that is packed with non-nutritive fillers, artificial flavours, and colours is simply bad food. Poor quality food can lead to poor health and behaviour issues. It’s time to switch to a better diet!

If you’d like to switch your pup’s commercial dog food to a better quality diet, there are tons of great dog foods out there, for every age, breed, and lifestyle. In fact, there are so many different brands out there that you might feel obligated to spring for the more expensive brands. It is important to state that, as with many other products, “expensive” doesn’t exactly translate into “healthier”. It is true that premium quality foods tend to be more expensive than lower quality foods because of the quality of their ingredients. However, do be aware that some dog food using lower quality ingredients are priced at a premium. The best way is to look at the ingredients. Generally, lower priced dog foods contain more grains and meat by-products while higher quality foods have more real meat and whole vegetables.

If you are thinking of switching your pup’s diet to a better quality diet, here are a few of our favourites for your consideration.

Raw-coated kibble

For paw parents wanting the fuss-free feeding of the dry kibble, and some of the nutritional benefits of a raw diet, consider switching to a raw-coated kibble like this Stella & Chewy’s Grain Free Raw Coated Kibbles Dry Dog Food. This dry dog kibble is gently baked and coated with a layer of freeze-dried raw food. The coating enhances the flavour and nutritional value of the kibble, making it one of the highest-quality dog kibbles available in the market.  

Air-dried and Freeze-dried dog food

These drying processes naturally preserve ingredients and eliminate pathogenic bacteria. Air-dried and freeze-dried dog food are easy to handle. Like dry dog kibble, they are easy to feed – simply scoop and feed. However, as these foods are “raw”, free feeding is discouraged and unfinished food must be discarded, and the dog’s bowl washed with soap and water. These dog foods are just as nutritious and digestible as a completely raw diet.

Freeze-drying does not involve heat and nutrients are mainly preserved. However, some air-drying processes do involve heat. Heating will destroy a percentage of nutrients. As such, not all air-dried foods are created equal. We recommend that you check out the ZIWI Peak Daily Dog Air Dried Lamb Dry Dog Food if you resolve to feed your pup a high quality air-dried dog food. This product uses a gentle twin-stage air-drying process to naturally preserve ingredients and minimise nutrient loss.  

New Year, New Dog

6) Eat the right portion

As with us humans, it’s all too easy for a pet’s weight to gradually creep up over time. According to The Animal Clinic, about 40% – 50% of the dogs it sees as patients are overweight or obese, and local vets are reporting that the number of overweight puppies and kittens is on the rise!

Scientific data has shown that a moderate excess weight alone (not yet obesity) is enough to shorten a pet’s life expectancy by as much as 2 years. Additional weight can lead to cardiovascular problems like heart disease and high blood pressure in your pet. Consequently, tackling your pet’s bulging waistline should be a New Year’s resolution if your pet shows a tendency to gain weight.

The first step to weight management is to prevent overfeeding. This can be done by measuring your dog’s food for each meal. Start by following the recommended amount of food. Reduce or increase the amount should you notice weight changes in your pup. It is also important to note the type of food that you are feeding. Senior dogs will often need fewer calories dog food like this ACANA Senior Recipe Dog Food. And be mindful of the dog treats. Over-treating can add excess calories to your pup’s daily intake.  

New Year, New Dog

With our furry friends being such an important part of our lives, include them in our New Year’s resolution. Set some goals and commit to making their health and well-being an even bigger priority in the coming year. Create a plan that you can stick to. Maybe even find a friend to check-in with and make sure you are reaching your goals with your pets. This is your year to get healthy and bond with your pet!

 

 

 

 

 

 


Katherine Khoo
KATHERINE KHOO
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.

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