New Year’s Resolutions for Your Dog
By Carol Bryant
It’s a new year, and that means it’s time for resolutions for both family and Fido. Mix and match these resolution ideas for the best results this year, or add all 12 to your regular routine and care time for your pup.
January: National Train Your Dog Month
Sponsored by the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, National Train Your Dog Month occurs every January to help promote the importance of training and socialization of dogs. All dogs can use some form of training, even if it’s just to promote fun and bonding between dog and pet parent.
Keep in mind--training does not mean teaching your dog tricks. Training a dog means helping to correct a behavior that is undesired, promoting harmony between pet parent and dog, and/or teaching your dog to be a good canine citizen.
February: National Pet Dental Health Month
There’s no time like the present to start a daily tooth and gum care regimen for dogs. The American Veterinary Dental Society reports that oral disease is the most frequently diagnosed health problem in pets. In fact, an astounding 80% of dogs have dental issues by the time they are three years old. Establish a dental care routine by vowing to brush your dog’s teeth as you would your own.
March: National Pet Poison Prevention Week
Poison Prevention Week takes place March 18 through 24 every year. In addition to household items and stale treats, keep dogs away from anything with artificial sweeteners. Xylitol, for example, is a substance found in many sugar-free items and it is lethal to pets. Take a check of your house and surroundings and be sure to pooch-proof it from poisons.
April: National Pet First Aid Awareness Month
Now is the time to refill your pet’s first aid kit, or to establish one. Try keeping a first aid kit for your dog in the car and one in the house, since you never know where or when an accident may occur. The American Red Cross has specific recommendations for what you should keep in this pet first aid kit, or you can buy one with items already included.
May: National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day
Get those disaster plans in place! Ensure you know where you and your dog will go in the event of a natural (or otherwise) disaster. From hurricane planning to flood evacuation, have a plan of escape, a point of destination and all supplies in place should you need to urgently escape. Never leave a dog behind.
June: Take Your Dog to Work Day
If you are unable to take your dog to work for National Take Your Dog to Work Day on June 21, celebrate by taking a special day off and making it Fido bonding time. Celebrated each year on the Friday following Father’s Day, show your dog what mom or dad does for a living and let the fur fly.
July: Independence Day
Keep dogs calm and safe from harm by practicing firework and outdoor safety in advance of 4th of July celebrations. Dogs will often bolt when they are startled. Ensure dogs cannot escape from your abode by securing doors, locking any outdoor gates and restricting access to areas like windows, which dogs may jump through when frightened.
August: National Dog Day
The dog days of summer come to life when August 26th rolls around. Make a resolution to celebrate your dog’s life by ensuring his or her good health. Preventative care and wellness check-ups at the vet with routine blood work and both fecal and urine screening are crucial.
September: World Rabies Day
Rabies is a deadly, yet very preventable, disease. Ensure your dog is current on the proper vaccination and discuss any questions with your vet.
October: National Pet Obesity Awareness Day
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has dubbed October 10 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. Dogs should not be overweight or obese; their joints, organs, and every fiber of their being are affected by any extra weight. Any pet weight loss program should be carefully constructed and designed for gradual but healthy decline in weight. Seek veterinary advice.
November: Pet Cancer Awareness Month
Screening your dog for lumps and bumps before they progress is crucial to stopping the spread of cancer. Often times something caught early on can be treated and/or removed prior to further complications. Take the time to check Fido and report any unusual findings or changes in behavior to Rover’s veterinarian.
December: National Mutt DayNational Mutt Day is celebrated on December 2. Whether or not you have a mutt or a pedigree pooch, this is a good time to give back, especially with the holidays approaching. Donate to a favorite dog charity, give back with some time to a shelter or consider fostering a dog in need.