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Is there anything more energy-sapping than stepping on the scales after the festive season? Best not. Shift your attention to your dog instead.

Like many of us, your dog may have piled on a few extra pounds over Christmas, due to a combination of over-indulging in delicious treats and taking less exercise than normal.

Being overweight can have serious consequences for your pooch, so another New Year’s resolution could be to keep an eye on your dog’s weight. Our tips for an overweight dog are to:

  • Ask your vet’s advice on diet and exercise to suit your pooch.
  • Enjoy plenty of healthy walks with your pup.
  • Give your dog a good quality, nutritionally-balanced diet.
  • Check you’re giving your dog the right portion size.
  • Don’t give your dog food that’s meant for humans.

If your dog is underweight, that can also be a cause for concern. We recommend:

  • Asking your vet to rule out any underlying medical problems.
  • Making sure you’re giving your dog enough to eat, according to their age, breed, size and activity level.
  • Not giving your dog treats and snacks.
  • Increasing the amount of food you give to your dog carefully and slowly.
  • Considering small, frequent feeds containing high-quality protein to tempt your dog to eat.

See more on this subject in our health guide on making sure your dog is the right weight.

Help your hound feel happier

We could all do with a dose of extra happiness in 2021, so why not make a resolution to make your dog happier?

  1. Stick to a routine. Dogs love routine, so give them the gift of regular walks at regular times. It’s been tricky to say the least to stick to a routine during lockdown, but your dog will be happier and more settled if you take them out at the same time each day.
  2. Keep exercise consistent. ‘Little and often’ is also better for your dog’s joints, as it means that they’ll be getting up and getting out regularly, rather than going for a huge trek that tires them out and could put extra pressure on their joints.
  3. Give them a comfy bed. Especially during the winter months, make sure your dog has a cosy, comfortable place to rest. If they’re getting on a bit, you could try a bed with a ‘chamfered’ edge so it’s easier for them to get in and out. Also, don’t put your dog in a chilly conservatory. Tiled floors can be freezing!
  4. Organise a treasure hunt. Dogs love to use their highly advanced sense of smell, so keep them mentally stimulated by setting up a treasure hunt for their favourite toy. Make sure to have a delicious treat on hand as a reward afterwards.
  5. Help them feel less anxious. Is your pup anxious, scared by people, other dogs or loud noises? Support them with sessions with an animal behaviourist, try our top tips on helping an anxious dog and consider a natural calming supplement like YuCALM.

Brush up on doggy dental health

Dog getting it's teeth brushed

We all know that we need to visit the dentist regularly, but doggy dental health is absolutely crucial for your dog’s overall wellbeing. By the time they’re three years old, over 80% of dogs have some kind of dental disease, which can affect dogs’ major organs.

Ideally, you should brush your dog’s teeth every day, or at least three times a week. This is another excellent doggy resolution for 2021 that will help reduce the dreaded ‘doggy breath’ as well as helping protect your dog’s health. The best way to get your dog used to having their teeth brushed is to start doing it when they’re just a pup.

Another tip: never use human toothpaste. Many contain fluoride, which is harmful to dogs. Some also include xylitol, an artificial sweetener that’s toxic for our canine friends. Stick to doggy toothpastes, which have the added benefit (for dogs) of coming in delicious flavours such as chicken, beef and even an exotic combination of vanilla and ginger.

Happy 2021!

We wish you and your dog a very happy 2021. Here’s to a healthy, happy year for all of us.

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