We suggest five resolutions for a happy and healthy new year for you and your pooch. Here goes…

Resolution 1: Don’t go mad on making resolutions

Start with small achievable goals for you and your pet, and don’t beat yourself up if you don’t deliver on all of them all of the time. If you fall off the wagon it’s no big deal – brush yourself (and pooch) off, get back up and start again.

Resolution 2: Take your dog for a daily walk

We all need exercise to keep those extra pounds at bay. As the weight piles on, so too do the related problems of obesity, including heart disease, diabetes and joint problems – and this applies to our pets as well. The National Guidelines on Physical Activity for Ireland suggest that adults need at least 30 minutes a day of moderate activity on 5 days a week, or 150 minutes a week. Check out the guidelines here: http://www.getirelandactive.ie/guidelines-resources/how-much-physical-activity-is-required/. Try and mix it up a bit – maybe a neighbourhood stroll one day and a frolic in the park the next. See our blog on obesity for some tips on how to prevent or reduce obesity in your dog: https://www.petinsure.ie/fat-catsand-fat-dogs-pet-obesity-weighty-problem/

Resolution 3: A healthy diet for all

For you, this probably means trying to eat more fruit and veg, replacing low-fibre carbs with higher fibre ones (e.g. brown and multigrain bread for white bread; brown rice for white rice) and cutting back on alcohol and processed foods high in fat, sugar and salt. Simple; not! For pooch, it’s far simpler – you have control of their diet. Try and stick almost exclusively to commercial dog food (it’s generally formulated to have all the nutrients your pet requires), and resist giving them table scraps and left-overs. We all like to give our dogs ‘treats’ like this but we’re doing them no favours. It can lead to obesity, and other problems ranging from diarrhoea to pancreatitis. See our blog on animal nutrition for some useful information on what to feed your dog: https://www.petinsure.ie/animal-nutrition-feed-dog-cat/.

Resolution 4: Regular grooming (including teeth brushing)

Hopefully your own grooming is up to scratch and doesn’t need a specific New Year’s Resolution to address it! But poor old pooch might need a bit more attention. There’s nothing worse than a stinky dog, and it’s not fair on them if nobody wants to give them a cuddle. You should brush your dog regularly (assuming they have hair to brush); this helps transfer oil from the skin to the coat keeping it shiny and healthy. While you don’t want to overdo the bathing, they do need the odd bath, especially if they’ve rolled in something! (use a shampoo that’s specific for dogs, not your own shampoo that can dry out and irritate their skin). Also keep an eye on your pet’s toenails, they will need cutting from time to time (if you’re not confident leave it to a groomer or vet). And brushing your dog’s teeth should be at least a weekly (and preferably daily) event – a bit of fluoride just once a week can help stave off teeth extractions or difficult cleaning procedures that require anesthesia.

Resolution 5: Have fun with your pet

A bit of horse play a day is good for both you and your pet – throwing a ball, pulling a rope, wrestling (that’s for a big dog!) for 5 to 10 minutes a day can do you both the power of good. The attention makes pooch feel important and loved, and reminds you that you have this furry friend that loves and depends on you.

We at Petinsure.ie wish you a happy and a healthy new year for you and your pet.