Dog Care 101

10 New Year’s Resolutions For Dog Owners

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By Regina

dog-wearing-party-hat-by-boeke.jpg We all know there are things we could be doing for our pets in the coming year that could our dog’s life, as well as our own, even better.

But… have you ever gone so far as to include one or two things that pertain specifically to your four-legged friend in your list of New Year’s resolutions?

Here are some New Year’s resolutions for dog owners…

1.  Get your dog neutered or spayed.

Your dog will have a lesser chance of developing cancers in the reproductive organs, and will have a sweeter personality and better behavior overall. Your dog will also be less likely to mark territory, wander and contribute to an already overloaded pet population.

2.  Keep an eye on your dog’s weight.

Make sure your dog gets enough exercise, the right kind of foods (but not too much food), and plenty of clean water. That way, your dog will not become obese, and they will not be so quick to exhibit behaviors that are less than acceptable.

Consider fostering another dog in your home.

Only do this if you are certain that you have the time, love and inclination to be a dog foster. There are many dogs that need love, care and attention (and some need a lot of healing too) before they can be adopted out. Dog fostering is one way to give your dog a buddy to play with — even if it’s only for a short time. It’s also a great way to give back to your community. 

4.  Take your dog to the vet for a yearly exam

Just like people, dogs need to have an annual check-up to make sure that everything is working properly and that there are no hidden health issues. Since symptoms can often go unnoticed, a visit to a veterinarian’s office may be the only way that you would even learn about a serious health problem. And the earlier a problem is diagnosed, the easier it is to treat.

5.  Provide your dog with a cozy, warm place to sleep.

This is really important, especially in the winter when there might be snow or ice and very low temperatures. You should never leave your dog outdoors during these times. Bring them indoors instead — even if it’s only temporary. A cushiony pet bed with an old towel or blanket is something your dog will thank you for in the winter!

6.  Make sure your dog has the proper I.D.

Whether you put identification tags on your dog’s collar, or get a microchip implanted underneath your dog’s skin, you need a way to claim your dog should he wander away, get lost, or become injured. The only way your dog will be returned to you is if he can be easily identified.

7.  Have your dog groomed regularly.

This includes having your dog’s toenails clipped, and having his coat washed and brushed often — no matter what breed of dog he is. If your dog’s toenails are not trimmed, they can break off (which is painful), or they may even grow under and into your dog’s foot pad (which is also painful). Don’t forget to clean your dog’s ears as well. Otherwise, your dog will start to have smelly ears, and ear mites which are just nasty! 

8.  Socialize your dog with other dogs.

If your dog isn’t given the opportunity to hang out with other dogs on occasion, then problems can arise. For example, when you’re walking your dog, he may act out as soon as he sees another dog. Maybe he’ll start barking uncontrollably, or he might even try to start a fight with another dog. For these reasons and more, it’s always a good idea to allow your dog to socialize with other pets as much as possible.

9.  Reduce your dog’s exposure to harmful chemicals.

Just as with humans, dogs can get cancer and develop other health issues when exposed to certain harmful chemicals. Going green with your cleaning practices and using non-toxic cleaners that you already have in your home (such as vinegar and baking soda) will help to reduce your dog’s exposure to harmful chemicals.

10.  Don’t feed your dog people food.

Your dog’s digestive system is different than a human’s. As a result, some people food is actually dangerous and unhealthy for dogs to eat. It’s best to refrain from feeding your pet table scraps (…which will also help to keep their weight down).


Adding one or more of these resolutions to your own list of New Year’s resolutions will ensure a longer, happier life for you and your dog!

What are your New Year’s resolutions this year?