Behaviour and Training

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Dog (and You)

New Year's Resolutions for your dog

Around this time of year, we all start thinking how we can be a little better. Maybe exercise more, snack less, remember to call our mums. But it’s also a good time to reflect on our relationships with our dogs. After all, they’re such a huge part of our lives you can’t really plan a “new you” without them.

So here are some resolutions worth committing to, that will make life even better for the both of you.

Eat Better

Just like their owners, around 50% of Aussie dogs are overweight or obese. The worst part about that is that an overweight dog’s life can be reduced by up to 1.5 years. That’s around 15% of their life that you miss out on.

Obviously, losing weight is something they need your help with. Commit to measuring their food and treats daily. Nutritional calculators are also a big help; they’re easily found online and are easier to decipher than the back of food packs.

Watch out for buzzwords when looking for the best diet-friendly food options. Dogs are less designed for carbs than we are, so prioritise feed with high protein from meat, good fats and oils, and whole rather than refined ingredients.

Or, you can skip all that and try Scratch Pet Food, which provides detailed feeding instructions personalised for your dog and an accurate measuring scoop.

Exercise Together

While most gyms are still dog-free zones, they can be the best walking and running companions. While not all breeds love a long run, you’d struggle to find a dog that isn’t up for a walk. For them, walks are about more than exercise: they’re also mentally stimulating with all the new smells to investigate.

If you or your dog have been inactive for a while, start small and work up to avoid injury. Your pup will soon get used to the routine and will probably turn into your new best alarm clock. Unfortunately they don’t come with a snooze button though.

New Year's Resolutions for your dog

Learn Something New

Forget the old saying “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” and set to work building some fresh skills. Whether it’s drop, roll over, or something more complex, dogs love the praise, attention, and treats that come with training.

One resolution might be to learn a new trick each month or practice for five minutes every day. If they’re a natural student, you could even challenge them with an agility courses or train them to be a therapy dog.

Quality Time

We don’t need to tell you that dogs love company. When you and your pets hang out together, both of your oxytocin (the feel good chemical) levels rise. If you’re stressed after a long day, cuddling with your dog is a scientifically proven was to lower your blood pressure and relax.

Consider taking things a step further by taking them to work or making your job pet-friendly. It’s proven to boost productivity and raise the overall mood.

Get Social

Dogs are great wing-men (and wing-women). Whether you’re at a cafe, walking down the street, or at the dog park they’re a natural conversation starter. Plus, most dogs love to socialise (note, not ALL dogs). If you’re single, the news is even better: research says men with a dog in their online dating profile picture get 75% more messages. Women with visible pets also do better, with 69% more matches.

New Year's Resolutions for your dog

Dental Health

Poor dental health has a significant impact on the overall health of our furry mates. If your dog is not regularly getting raw bones or treats that require lots of chewing, consider giving them specifically designed dental toys. Otherwise, you should start brushing your pup’s teeth or take them to a doggy dentist.

New Year's Resolutions for your dog

Save Money and Time

The retail subscription model that’s changed the way we buy everything from razors (Dollar Shave) to toilet paper (Who Give’s A Crap) has also reached dog food–you can get personalised dog food subscriptions from companies like Scratch. This way of shopping saves you cash because you’re buying directly from the company rather than a retail store (who add markups). It also reduces time spent on errands as you don’t need to lug heavy bags of dog food home from the pet shop.

Help Others

While we’re talking about ways to make life better for you and your dog, take a moment to think about how you can improve things for someone else. There are a lot of great charities working with animals around the country. If you can afford it, consider making a donation.

Or, if you want more dogs in your life, you could adopt a rescue, become a dog foster carer, or volunteer for a dog charity or rescue.

For more 2020 plans, check out:

Study Finds Sleeping with a Dog Is Better than Sleeping with a Person Or Cat

Should You Get a Rescue Dog? How to Decide

Would You get a Tattoo of Your Dog?

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Written by Doug Spiegelhauer
Doug never had a dog growing up but as soon as he stopped moving around knew he needed a dog in his life. Enter Snoop the Beagle. Doug worked for 7 years designing and making dog treats and food for some of Australia's best brands. Now a Co-Founder of Scratch Pet Food.