Happy New Year from the zerimax family to yours! We are excited about all the awareness we raised about pet safety in 2013, and we are happy to start the New Year on the right paw. January is a time for reflection and rejuvenation, and that means resolutions and changes for the better. Of course we all want to live healthy and safe lives and this goes for our furry loved ones too! 2014 is the year to whip you and your dog into shape, improve any behavioral issues, and resolve to put safety first.
Health & Fitness
The number one resolution humans make involve our wellness, and the most common decision is to exercise more. Back in November we learned about the growing number of overweight and obese pets in our society. To battle the bulge, include your dog in this new workout regimen. "Taking a dog for a walk is healthy for both the dog and the dog's owner. The companionship of a pet provides us with an extra incentive, and inspiration, to get out and work out," says Dr. Clark K. Fobian, president of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Go for more walks, and steadily build up to jogs. An active lifestyle will increase life expectancy.
For the colder months, when dog parks and a game of catch aren't as bearable, consider agility training or play time with other dogs indoors. Day cares, like Logan Pets, offer a climate-controlled and supervised environment for your pooch to be active and social. A recent British study found "a quarter of dogs are left alone for more than five hours a day." Now is the time to reevaluate your dog's lifestyle and the changes you can implement to maximize his quality of life.
Check out this chart to help determine what activities are best for your breed:
For our goal-setters out there, start training for a 5K with your K9. Follow this workout routine to prepare. And remember, your dog may not know when to quit. Dogs have to rely on their trainers to monitor them at all times.
For the ultimate human-canine workout system, check out Thank Dog! Bootcamp -- an innovative fitness and obedience program.
Another instant health-booster is to quit smoking. We know that second-hand smoke is harmful, but we don't often think of the effects on our pets.
When was your last doctor's visit? When was your pet's last vet visit? Pets age faster than we do, so biannual checkups are best.
Have you ever kept a food journal? Consider tracking how much your pet eats. Even writing down every morsel for a week will open your eyes to what you and your pooch are consuming. This will help you be more accountable, and it's helpful in a multi-owner family. Also, if your pet hasn't finished her food after about 20 minutes, take the bowl away to discourage overeating. Below is a simple food journal we like to use, or keep track on your phone!
Also keep track of how many and how frequent you give out treats. AVMA explains, "A large dog treat can be over 100 calories, while a small treat has as little as 10 calories. If you can't help but repeatedly treat your beloved pet (because they're so incredibly good), break the snacks in half or even thirds to cut the calories." Or consider alternate healthy options like carrots.
In December, we discussed our spending on pets, specifically around the holidays, but as new pet owners quickly learn, our four-legged friends are expensive! Prepare a budget for your pet expenses; consider starting an emergency fund. Setting aside $5, $10, or $20 per paycheck will add up in case of unexpected vet visits or surgeries.
If you have transitioned from a “pet owner” to a “pet parent” it is probably time to consider obtaining a pet insurance policy to assist with funding in the event of injuries, illness, and veterinary emergency action.