Wednesday, April 1, 2015

How Your Dog Can Help You Achieve Your New Year’s Resolutions

We’re well into 2015 and it’s time to fess up: how have you been doing with your New Year’s resolutions? If you’re like many of us, you probably began the year with the best of intentions, but may have started sliding a little; new habits are incredibly difficult to form. But it’s not too late to get back on track – or stay on track, for those lucky disciplined few. We have a secret for you that you’re going to love: your dog is your ticket to a better, healthier you in so many ways! Read on to learn how you can incorporate your dog into your new routines for an instant accountability partner who will love you no matter what.

1.    The Resolution: I Will Exercise More

How Your Dog Can Help: Start taking your dog with you on your walks or runs, making sure to stick to the same schedule every single day. For example, a great time to throw on your tennis shoes and set out with your new workout buddy might be first thing in the morning or as soon as you arrive home from work. The reason this is such a great key to success is that getting your dog used to a routine means they’ll start looking forward to their activity time every single day. There are days when you may not feel like going to a run, but trust us, your dog is not going to let you forget that it’s “play time.”

One crucial word of advice: just like people, dogs need time to ramp up. So, if your dog is used to being relatively inactive, make sure you prevent injuries and fatigue by easing them into their routine gradually. Start with a couple days per week of walking or very short runs and work up from there. When in doubt, ask your vet; they may recommend some joint medication or extra vitamins and supplements for your dog’s new activity level. Working up gradually will actually help you stick to your own routine more in the long-run, too; going from 0 to 60 too quickly is a major reason many New Year’s resolutions fail.

2.    The Resolution: I Will Watch My Finances

How Your Dog Can Help: What could be a more perfect gateway to a host of fabulous, free reactional opportunites than your dog? Your favorite four-legged friend can now be your favorite excuse to go to the park or dog park, plan a hike, or even take that road trip to the beach you’ve been dreaming about. We all feel a little guilty sometimes, as we get busy, about the idea of taking time for ourselves. Doing something that makes your dog happy too can reduce this guilt – which you shouldn’t feel anyway; you deserve to enjoy yourself!

3.    The Resolution: I Will Sleep Better

How Your Dog Can Help: We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you let your dog sleep on your bed with you, the odds are extremely high that you’re not getting a good nights’ sleep. Pets can be extremely disruptive to our sleep cycle, not just because they move around quite a bit during the night, but also because the space they take up can sometimes put us in uncomfortable sleeping positions. So as lovely as it is to sleep with your dog, giving them their own dog bed or crate will keep both of you happier and healthier. Most dog experts agree that this practice is, in fact, the best thing for your dog too, as it reduces confusion about who the “Alpha” in the home is. Buy a dog bed or crate and some snuggly blankets or toys, plying your dog with treats as necessary to get him used to his new abode. Hold strong on this one; it really is good for both of you.

4.    The Resolution: I Will Be More Social

How Your Dog Can Help: Your dog may be your best friend, but he’s also the perfect way to meet your new human best friends. Dog-centric Meetups exist in almost every town; in fact, if you’re a breed fanatic, there are even Meetups for owners of specific breeds like Corgis, Labradoodles, Border Collies, and more! It’s easy and cheap to start a Meetup of your own if you don’t find something that speaks (or “barks”) to you. Not into the idea of a formal Meetup? Most major cities also happen to cater to dog-lovers by being home to coffee shops, restaurants, and even bars that allow dogs. Simply search for “dog-friendly ______” in your area and we bet you’ll find something. We even know of a bar that hosts regular “Yappy Hours” with drink specials for dog lovers and their pets. As many dog owners can tell you, even just walking down the street with your cute pup can be a great way to make some new friends.

So don’t let yourself down this year! Your dog is here to make you the best human you can be. But if you slip up, they’ll still greet you at the door with plenty of kisses. Happy New Year from Medi-Vet!