Do you like to start of the New Year with lots of resolutions? Maybe you achieve them all or maybe they are broken within a couple of hours?
How about setting some that you can achieve this year for your dog? Sounds a bit strange doesn’t it, but as dog loving people we will put their happiness before our own and are more likely to stick to goals to increase their happiness and welfare. Read on for some ideas that you could put into practise:
- If your dog is overweight, put them on a diet! I know they make puppy dog eyes at you but it’s not healthy for them to carry extra weight. If you can’t bear to stop giving them treats, then cut down their main dinner. Extend one of their walks and that will help them no end. You could also try chucking their dinner around your garden, no I’m not crazy! If you feed them biscuits, throw it around the garden and your dog has got to work out where it all is, it helps them to be active with the added benefit of a tiring brain game. Don’t worry if it’s dark, that means their noses, brains and tails will just work a bit harder. If you are unsure whether your dog is overweight, ask your vet. Most vets have a weight clinic run by their lovely nurses.
- Go and explore with your dog. Sometimes we get stuck in to the working week and time is of a premium which means your dog is going on the same walk all the time. Your dog won’t mind but, just like us, they are stimulated by new surroundings and smells. You will be amazed at the amounts of public footpaths there are around. Head out on a day where time isn’t a problem, pack a drink and find a new route.
- Give your dog some oily fish as part of their diet. Oily fish contains Omega 3 essential fatty acids which have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Not only this but it can really help improve your dog’s coat and help with itchy skin. If the idea of giving them a tin of sardines turns your stomach then you can buy them an Omega 3 supplements from places like Pets at Home. My dogs have always enjoyed sardines mixed in with their food once or twice a week and I’ve really noticed a difference in their coats. I use to give my eldest greyhound some supplements but I didn’t have to do that once I started giving her some sardines. She was able to run quickly when she choose to and didn’t struggle to get out of her bed. The great thing about a tin of sardines is they only cost around 40p.
- Try a class for your dog. Training classes are not just for puppies. There are all kind of classes from regular training to agility to tracking to flyball and many more. It can be a fantastic way to mentally stimulate your dog. They will make new friends and so will you.
- Set up an ISA for your dog! Let’s be honest, we don’t begrudge our dogs a penny but they can be expensive. Jimmy, my greyhound had an accident that resulted in him being in a leg cast and then a subsequent toe amputation that cost over £1000. I have insurance, so I didn’t have to find that kind of money. However, some insurers insist you pay first and then it takes ages to get the money back. Now I’m not suggesting that you cancel your insurance, but what you could think about is start saving in a tax-free ISA and when you get to an amount that you feel will cover any treatment your dog needs then maybe cancel your insurance and start paying in the cost of that instead to your ISA. It’s also worth considering how you would pay for treatment not covered by insurance like dental work. I’m no financial advisor so please don’t do anything that will put yourself into financial hardship. If you don’t have insurance maybe starting an ISA now will help you in the future. Or how about putting an amount in each month that will cover the cost of worming tablets, flea treatment, boosters and your insurance excess. It could help you have one steady monthly payment instead of differing amounts throughout the year. Or you could just put a lump sum in one. Who knows what the future holds, what if you lost your job or had to move?
- I apologise now, this one is a bit gloomy. Have you made any plans for your dog if the worst was to happen and you pass away? As humans, we often have godparents or close family who will look after children if the parent dies. Has your dog got a God Parent? Well Frank doesn’t have one so I need a plan. So, that is my resolution for the New Year to ensure that he has somewhere to go if the worst happens. Ideally, I need to find them a home where he will be pampered to within an inch of his life, so if anyone fancies being a dog godparent let me know. In all seriousness, the Dogs Trust do a scheme. You become a member for £25 per year and you get 24-hour access to Vetfone, and a Canine Care Card, it’s a guarantee that Dogs Trust will take care of your dog should you pass away. You also get 3rd Party Public Insurance (if you are considering swapping your insurance for an ISA do get this, if your dog causes damage or injury to another dog, person or property this will cover you up to £1,000,000) Read here for more details.
On that cheery note I will leave you! I hope I’ve given you some fuel for thought. If you do decide to do 1 or more resolution for you dog, well done, good luck and your dog will love you for it!
Love, Sally xx
Sally Cousins is a self confessed mad dog lady!
After being mum to several rescue dogs she decided to turn her passion in to her career and set up her own dog walking business back in 2015.
Sally not only runs her business, she also writes for her own blog and also does guest blogs for other dog businesses. You can also find Sally chatting as a guest on dog related podcasts.