At least one or two resolutions every year include a commitment to getting healthier. Taking care of your health is always a good idea, and for dog lovers, it’s even more important. Staying healthy allows you to take the best care of your beloved furry best friend. Instituting lifestyle changes that will keep you and your dogs healthier are some of the best New Year’s resolutions you can make. But those resolutions won’t do you or your pup any good if you can’t stick to them. Here are a few tips and ideas to help you and your pooch live a healthier and happier life in 2020, even if you’ve failed at your first attempts to make a commitment to change:
1. Eliminate Processed Foods For You And Your Dog
Your eventual goal is to only eat foods that could come directly from a farm (organic meats, dairy, eggs, fruits and veggies) but if you try to go cold turkey on all your favorite junk foods, you’ll be ditching your new diet sooner rather than later. Instead, set a pace you’re comfortable with, like changing one regular food choice a week, or one a month if you’re really resistant to diet changes. Every healthy choice you make matters so celebrate each small success instead of expecting a total diet overhaul all at once. Diet changes aren’t always easy for your dog, either. Try introducing a freeze dried meat treat and monitor his reaction. You can slowly replace his less-than-healthy snacks with healthier ones.
Your dog’s food is an integral part of keeping him healthy. So many dog foods have been recalled due to contamination and many more are laden with preservatives, fillers, and sub-par ingredients your dog would never eat on his own. A natural diet of human-grade freeze dried meats, veggies, and a few fruits will lead to a much healthier life. Talk to your vet about which food is right for your dog, and what size portions he should be getting daily. Dogs can have allergies to grains, weight issues from too much people food or the improper dog food, or nutritional deficiencies that require your attention. He relies on you to provide the healthiest food to nourish his body. Take the time to research dog food brands and treats and feed him healthy food to avoid organ damage, cancers, and obesity. Consider switching to a grain-free, freeze dried premium dog food like FEED ME.
2. Stop Overeating
It’s so easy to eat when we are bored or upset, and the same is true for your dog. There’s just something that is naturally calming about eating a meal or snack, especially when we indulge in our favorite treats. But this behavior can easily lead to a bad habit of overeating that packs on the pounds. If you’ve gotten in the habit of giving in to those puppy dog eyes and sharing a bite or two of everything you eat, chances are good your dog is not only eating foods that aren’t healthy for him, but he’s consuming too many calories as well. It’s generally best not to start the habit of sharing people food with your dog. He quickly learns to beg and pulls on your heartstrings when you eat chocolate or onion-laden chili that you should’t share. A well trained dog knows his pack leader (you) will feed him and he waits patiently for your permission to eat. He’s not anxious about where or when his next meal will come from because he trusts you to provide for him. This approach keeps your dog from stealing foods from the counter, or snatching food from your hand or plate. This is especially important if you have small children, as little fingers can be nipped when your dog tries to steal a bite of a tightly grasped cookie carried by a toddler. Your dog should know when mealtime is every day and that he can expect a full belly after his meal, but not an all-you-can-eat buffet. This training will help limit overeating.
3. Move More
Exercise is often one of the hardest parts of staying healthy. We’re already exhausted from our family and work responsibilities and finding the energy to exercise just doesn’t seem feasible. Add to that our highly sedentary lifestyles in front of computers and televisions and you’ve got a recipe for an unhealthy lifestyle. This can be an especially difficult problem for a dog who tends to be more of a couch potato than a frisbee enthusiast. Getting outside to exercise when it’s cold can also be a problem for dogs who are sensitive to the cold.