Enjoy a happy new year – a checklist that works for you and your dog!

Jan 29, 2022 5:42:57 AM

January is typically when we look ahead and decide what we can do better. We might think of home improvements, sleeping habits, our weight, the level of exercise we need and how we eat. But why not reassess your pet’s needs and do a 5-point check to see how you can make life as good as possible for them too?

It is easy to fall into a rut with some habits – to the point where we don’t notice things as keenly. Our pets - like the comfortable, familiar faces they are - are part of the family and also part of the furniture! It’s really valuable to stop once in a while and really consider their needs beyond the everyday routines.

 

1            Health check

A good starting point is a general health check. You can book in with your vet or do some checks yourself: using common sense and knowledge of your dog.

The PDSA has a really good ‘at home’ plan for canine health checks and covers all of the main areas of the body with some pointers on what you should be looking for.

As well as this you should also look at your dog’s behaviour in relation to his usual appetite, energy levels and demeanour. As dog owners, we all know when our dogs look happy, right?

To weigh your dog, home scales are a bit tricky but if you can, weigh yourself, then pick up your dog, weigh yourselves together and subtract your weight. It’s not as accurate as the vet but it’ll give you a reasonable idea. Also see point 5 below – our Nutritional Advisers can help with this.

You can look online to see the weight range that applies to your specific dog breed.

 

2            Bedding

Is your dog’s bed off the ground, in a draught-free place, with freshly washed bedding? Older dogs can also benefit from a little more padding and there’s plenty of choice – from basic cushions to plush memory foam mattresses to the ever-practical vetbed. You can also bulk out your dog’s sleeping area with blankets.

Get into the good habit of washing the bedding at least once a month but shake it outside and vacuum inside the bed area weekly. Not only will it be more pleasant for your dog (and reduce general dog odours) but it’ll also minimise the risk of creating an undisturbed breeding ground for fleas and other parasites.

 

3            Toys and chews

Toys should be examined often for loose parts and general wear and tear. They don’t last forever so take care of them by washing them and making sure they are fit for purpose. Some dog owners store play toys away from their dogs when they are not engaged with them but that’s your call of course.

Long-life chew toys or gnawing aids such as buffalo horn or bones should also be monitored for signs that they have outstayed their welcome. We’d suggest getting rid of gnaw aids that are getting small enough to ingest as they could cause harm.

If you are crafty or handy, check out Battersea Dogs’ Home guide to making your own toys – including the popular snuffle mat and ragger toys.

 

4            Walks

We have mentioned in previous articles (link below) the joy of shaking up your habitual walk. Finding somewhere new and interesting to you both is a great way to spend time.

For a new landscape, ask around, speak to friends and look out for enclosed dog fields. There are plenty of tips in our blog on this. It’s stimulating for your dog to experience new textures under his paws such as sand or grass - and to sniff new smells of course!

 

5            Diet focus

In the same way we recover from a traditionally indulgent period of the year by streamlining our own diets, we can look at what we feed our pets. In line with the results of your health check, it might be time to make some changes.

You might reconsider how often you give treats, how often you feed your dogs and what you feed them. We have some useful FAQs on this: https://www.trophypetfoods.co.uk/pet-care/feeding-faqs.

Most of us are experienced enough to feed our pets ‘by eye’ - sticking with an amount we know is visually correct - but you may need to revert to weighing out if you are looking to make changes.

Looking down on your dog’s profile from above, you should see the semblance of a waistline – not too much so you can see ribs but a gentle slope inwards. This is a good indicator of whether your dog is under, over or at the right weight. 

Our Nutritional Advisers can help with this – they are trained to weigh your pet and suggest different options with you.

Why not book an appointment for our free pet weighing service and start your new canine’s resolutions right now?

References:

https://www.pdsa.org.uk/pet-help-and-advice/looking-after-your-pet/all-pets/at-home-mot

https://www.battersea.org.uk/about-us/news/diy-dog-toys

https://www.trophypetfoods.co.uk/blog/finding-the-best-places-to-walk-your-dog

https://www.trophypetfoods.co.uk/pet-care/feeding-faqs

https://www.trophypetfoods.co.uk/how-we-work/#free-pet-weighing

 

 

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