Blog by Irene Hislop
They say the best way to stick to your New Year’s resolutions is to make them with a buddy. You’ll keep each other on track. Honestly, few human friends can compete with our dogs for loyalty and dedication. Not only that, but dogs absolutely love a solid routine.
While you’re working on your meal prepping or focusing on healthy choices in the supermarket for yourself, making healthy food choices on the behalf of your pet is always a good idea but there’s even more to it than that.
When you want to start a new habit, there really is no better friend than your dog to help you. Here’s a few suggestions of how you and your dog can stay healthy together as we get into the swing of this new year.
Between food, vet bills and toys, we can easily spend a lot of money on our dogs. Why not recoup some of it by engaging them as your personal trainer instead of paying gym fees?
Most of us take our dogs out for one walk a day, but two is twice as good. If you take your dog for one half hour walk a day in the evening, try adding a second ten-minute walk in the morning. If you normally do two walks, can you add five or ten minutes to one? Walking uses a range of muscles, improves circulation and stimulates the mind. If your dog is older and can’t go for long walks, an additional short walk is still a great way to help them stay limber.
Generations ago, dogs had real jobs. They herded and protected livestock, hunted and patrolled the farm keeping vermin in check. If you’re looking for a new challenge for your mind and body, you have some fun options that can include your best friend.
Do you have a history of taking up jogging in January only to abandon it before spring? Try Canicross instead. Trail running with your dog can be a healthy social outing when you join a group of other runners and their dogs. It involves some special equipment: your dog is on a lead attached to you that also prevents them from pulling you too much, but it is well worth it to run safely together.
Agility is another activity that really engages your dog’s mind and can lead to some fun outings with other dog lovers. You can start small, and the whole family can participate in training the dog and practicing. This is an excellent option for breeds known for their thinking skills such as Collies, German Shepherds and busy little terriers. It can benefit any dog prone to boredom, including those who have some destructive habits.
If you are cleaning up your own diet, don’t overlook your dog’s. We all love treats, but we all suffer if we indulge in too many things with unhealthy ingredients. This one is easier for dogs than humans. Their healthy treats are generally more delicious than the less healthy options. Next time you’re shopping for dog treats, look for those that offer additional nutritional support for their coat or joints. Check the label and chose those that say clearly and specifically what is in them instead of listing only ‘meat products’. We pride ourselves on making healthy treats for your dogs right at home in Kilkenny – you can check out our Go Native treats or Leader Train Me Treats to learn more!
Making New Years resolutions with your dog is a fun way to improve your own health, and it is much easier to stick to a new habit when your best friend taps you with a paw and looks at you with those big eyes.