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Pawsitively Healthy: Top 5 New Year's Resolutions for Your Canine Companion

Posted on December 12 2023

As we embark on a new year here at Top Shelf Dog, we’re focused on health and prioritizing the well-being of our furry family members. We humans often set New Year’s resolutions, so why not set some resolutions for our canine companions? Here are 5 resolutions to get you started, backed by data and insights from experts in veterinary science and animal behavior!

Resolution 1: Upgrade Their Diet for Optimal Nutrition

Well, it wouldn’t be a Top Shelf Dog blog if it didn’t include a nod to nutrition! A comprehensive study led by Dr. Susan Wynn, a board-certified veterinary nutritionist, highlights the importance of balanced nutrition for dogs. Published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association (JAVMA), the research underscores that a diet rich in high-quality proteins contributes significantly to a dog's overall health, including muscle development and immune function.

Ensuring your pup’s food includes the proper balance of vitamins and minerals is also critical to their development. If you are unsure of which vitamins, minerals, types of protein, etc., we recommend consulting with your veterinarian to choose a diet that aligns with your dog's specific needs, considering factors such as age, breed, and any existing health conditions.

Resolution 2: Regular Exercise for a Happy and Fit Pooch

Making a point to use your Peloton more often in 2024 for a more consistent exercise routine? Don’t leave fido behind. The findings of a 2019 collaborative study between the University of Liverpool's Institute of Infection and Global Health and the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition emphasize the positive impact of regular exercise on canine health. The research, published in the Journal of Nutritional Science, reveals that physical activity reduces the risk of obesity and contributes to cardiovascular and musculoskeletal fitness. Well, “of course” exercise leads to better health. It’s the impact researchers measured that left an impression on us – the study of over 50,000 dogs across 12 breeds showed the lifespan of overweight dogs was up to two and a half years shorter when compared to dogs with a healthy body weight.

Almost across the board, veterinary behaviorists and researchers advise pet owners to incorporate daily exercise routines, such as brisk walks and interactive play, not only for physical fitness but also for mental stimulation.

Resolution 3: Prioritize Preventative Healthcare

Are your dog’s vaccinations up to date? Maybe make a resolution to give your Vet a call? The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) emphasizes the significance of preventive care for dogs. According to AVMA data, regular veterinary visits can detect and address potential health issues early on, preventing more severe conditions down the road. Vaccinations and parasite prevention are at the top of the list and crucial components of early intervention.

Resolution 4: Mental Stimulation and Enrichment

A study published in the journal Applied Animal Behaviour Science, led by Dr. John L. Bradshaw, a leading expert in animal behavior, indicates that mental enrichment activities positively impact a dog's emotional well-being. The research shows that dogs provided with enrichment activities exhibit lower stress levels and engage in fewer undesirable behaviors.

Dr. Emily Rodriguez, a certified canine behaviorist and collaborator on the study, recommends incorporating puzzle toys, scent games, and training sessions to keep dogs mentally engaged and fulfilled.

Resolution 5: Foster Social Interaction and Bonding

Socialization positively influences a dog's behavior and can mitigate anxiety-related issues. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Veterinary Behavior: Clinical Applications and Research found that dogs that engage in regular social interactions exhibit lower stress levels and increased overall well-being.

Dr. Laura Garcia, a veterinarian specializing in animal behavior, recommends incorporating regular social activities, such as playdates, dog-friendly events, and training classes, to enhance your dog's social skills and strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend.

Roll-on 2024! Now that we’ve armed you with data and insights from esteemed experts, let these resolutions provide a roadmap to a healthier and happier year for both you and your canine companion. Here's to a pawsitively healthy journey in the coming year!