Sunday, January 5, 2014

5 ways to give your dog a New Year makeover

Happy Near Year!

If you're like me, you probably haven't set any special goals or resolutions for the new year.

However, now is the perfect time to look at how you can make your pet's life better.

Here are five things to consider when it comes to your pet:

1) Should you make food adjustments? 
How's your dog's coat? Is it shiny? Is it soft if it should be soft? Are their eyes bright? How's their teeth? How's their poop? Fairly firm and not too squishy?

Good food can make a big difference in your dog's outward appearance. Aside from the obvious health concerns, even if you think your pet's food is good, could it be better? Are they getting everything they need?

Starting the new year off with new food (or adjustments as necessary) gives you a good starting point to measure progress.
The gray collar is Lulu's Seresto.
2) How is that flea preventative working for you?
Lulu started wearing a Seresto collar about six months ago. I started noticing a couple of fleas the other day while giving her a belly rub. That's means it's time to change out the collar. But do I want to stick with Seresto?

Time to assess that flea treatment. Did it really work well? Was it worth the money you paid? Is there something better out there?

Lulu loves to sit in the grass, especially after a walk.

3) Does your dog get enough exercise?
This question actually has little to do with overall health, though obviously that's important. I'm actually concerned more about behavioral issues. Does your dog chew, or make a mess, or get rowdy? They may not get enough exercise during the day. It's tough, because we are all busy, but a tired dog is a happy dog, and a better-behaved dog.

So how much exercise should your dog get? Depends on the dog.

According to my trainer, a calm, reasonable fit, 2 to 3-year-old dog should be walked 30 minutes twice a day. But the more active and energetic the dog, the longer the walks should be.

I found a cheat sheet at, of all places, (they make those "insert here" for dummies books).

This is basic, but it gives you a general idea of what you should do according to activity level and breed. Check it out here.

Lulu checks out art with another dog at the Doggie Art Festival.
  4) Do you spend enough time with your pet?

This quote from John Grogan, the writer of "Marley and Me" springs to mind:
"Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day."
If you and your dog are all you've got, your dog often finds him or herself tending the home fires while you're bringing home the bacon (and you probably don't even GIVE your dog any bacon, you greedy bastard). And we all want to have social lives outside of work, believe me.

What I've done is found ways to get Lulu out of the house and combine that with social activities. Meeting neighbors at dog parks, or going to local doggy festivals. My friends also like Lulu, so sometimes they'll be nice and go to lunch or breakfast with Lulu and me.

You only get to have your dog for a short time. Make it count. Do you spend enough time with your dog?

5) Are there any little things you can do?
Is their bed a little threadbare? Are their toys the worse for wear? Is their microchip info up-to-date? Look at the stuff your pet uses and see what needs replacing. Don't have money to replace things right now? Check out HomeGoods if you have one near you, or pet store clearance aisles (especially right now), or animal shelter thrift stores. This month is inventory month, so you might see some great things on close-out.


  1. My buddies are like night and day. The Little Weirdo is bursting full of energy and Mr. Cool is like Eeyore. Love this article! I'm tweeting it right now. Happy New Year!


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