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the Dog Blog

Ring in the New Year with a happier, healthier dog!

Ring in the New Year with a happier, healthier dog!

Make a New Year’s Resolution that includes your furry bestie.

Every year, most of us resolve to do at least one thing to improve our lives: spend more time with friends and family, exercise more, eat healthier. So why not include your best friend in your resolution? After all, he simply can’t take care of his own health—he counts on you! So here are our top 10 ways you can have a happy, healthy dog in 2017—and make your relationship with your pooch stronger than ever!

1. Put safety first.

Make sure your dog is trained to follow the basic commands that can keep him safe. These include:

  • Stay  you may need to have your dog stay put in case of an approaching car or other danger. He needs to be able to stay when you command it and for as long as you tell him to.
  • Drop  this is key to preventing your dog from eating dangerous items that could cause serious health issues.
  • Come — this is another command that can keep your dog away from hazards. If he gets too close to something that could be harmful, teaching him to come to you on command can save you both a lot of headaches and heartache.
  • Down — this is an important command, not just to keep your dog from jumping on guests at the door, but to keep him from trying to jump up and reach items he shouldn’t have.

2. ID is key.

Make a resolution to update your dog’s id tags if needed, or to microchip him. Microchipping substantially increases the likelihood that you and your dog will be reunited should he ever become lost. Microchipping is a virtually painless procedure that can be performed in your vet’s office, and it has become quite affordable in recent years. If your dog is already microchipped, make sure the information is up to date.  Your dog’s ID could help him be returned to you quickly should he be lost.

3. Walk more!

Experts say you should walk your pooch at least once a day. But, depending on the breed, he may need more than one walk a day. High energy breeds are better off having two 15-minute walks per day. If your dog is overweight, it may mean, in addition to possibly eating too much food, he may not be getting enough exercise. In this case, consider a reduced-fat dog food, like Bil-Jac Reduced Fat, and getting those walks in, along with more playtime. Walking your dog gets you and your dog out of the house and on the move, which is good for both of you!

4. Teach an old (or new) dog some new tricks.

Start the new year with some new tricks! Regardless of your pet’s age, you CAN still teach him tricks. So have fun teaching him some of those doggy parlor tricks—like speak, spin, wave, kiss and take a bow. Celebrity dog trainer, Joel Silverman can show you how in our video learning library

5. Feed him well.

Choosing a healthy, super premium dog food like Bil-Jac can provide your dog with high-quality nutrition. In the long run, feeding a high-quality premium food can help keep your dog healthy. Also make sure your dog has plenty of clean, fresh water to drink to keep him hydrated at optimum levels. Don’t wait till the water dish is empty – keep it topped off.

6. Take care of those pearly whites.

Dental issues can cause bad breath, trouble eating and even serious health issues. Check your pup’s teeth and gums daily for signs of trouble. You can do this when you brush his teeth using a special canine toothbrush and toothpaste. Giving your pooch dental chews and bones can help keep plaque and bacteria at bay. But still, keep an eye out for signs of broken teeth, bleeding or discolored gums and bad breath that can signal dental issues.

7. Have fun with new toys!  

Just like their human parents, dogs can get bored with the same old same old. Surprise him with a new toy or two! Just make sure they are sturdy for play and are the right size for your dog. For instance, a small rubber or plastic ball for a large dog could present a choking hazard. Also, avoid toys that have ribbons, strings, eyes or other items that can be chewed off and eaten. Some dogs like to have a blanket or soft toy that has your scent.  It can be very soothing for them to have their special toy or blanket nearby.  It’s always a good idea to supervise your dog when playing with toys.  

8. Declare war on fleas, ticks and other pests.

More than just making your pet uncomfortable, fleas and ticks can carry dangerous diseases. Fortunately there are plenty of products on the market that can keep those pests off your fur-baby. These include oral treatments, shampoos, collars, powders, spot treatments and more. Your veterinarian can recommend a product that will work best for your dog breed, since, for one thing, the amount of hair your dog has can make some treatments more effective than others. 

9. Keep those vet checkups.  

Keeping regular appointments is important for assuring your dog’s continued good health. You’ll be making sure your fur baby is up to date on his vaccinations, and that the vet can identify any potential health issues early on through a regular checkup and routine testing.

10. Make a clean start!

Resolve to keep your dog properly groomed and clean at all times. Good grooming actually contributes to your dog’s overall health and wellbeing. Regular grooming can help you notice lumps, bumps or skin infections. And catching them early can save you money on potentially more expensive treatments down the road. Here are some easy ways to make sure your pup is always fresh as a daisy and ready for cuddling:

  • Brush your dog’s hair thoroughly every day. Not only does this release important oils from his skin to keep his coat healthy, but it also promotes good circulation. Feeding your dog Bil-Jac can also provide extra skin and coat support.
  • Bathe him regularly to keep his coat clean and shiny.
  • Check his ears for any signs of infection or wax buildup. Use a tissue to gently remove any debris in his ears. Don’t put anything inside the ear, though!
  • Keep his nails trimmed, being careful not to clip them too short and cut into the quick, which can cause bleeding. A good guide is to cut only the lighter colored or white part of the nail, as you would your own.

If you’re not able to or comfortable performing these tasks—or if your dog is too skittish to let you do it—keep regular appointments with a professional groomer. They know how to get the job done. Your dog and you will both appreciate it!

Make 2017 a doggone good year!

Following these tips can help make for a long life and a healthy, happy dog. It can also strengthen bond between you and your pet.  And remember—dogs have been shown to improve their pet parents’ health as well, by reducing stress and possibly lowering both your blood pressure and your risk of cardiovascular disease. With everything your dog gives to you day after day, resolve to make 2017 the year you give back as much as possible.

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Do you have new year’s resolutions that include your best friend? We’d love to hear what they are!

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