How To Make 2017 the Best Year in the Life of Your Pet

How To Make 2017 the Best Year in the Life of Your Pet


Many of us are hoping for a fabulous year; and we have dreams, hopes, and resolutions to guide us. But how does this year look from our pets’ perspectives? Most likely they aren’t expecting any radical changes…But what if you could surprise your pet with the best year ever! Read on to find some pet care tips and ideas of all kinds on how to create an incredible year for your pet educationally, physically, and socially!

Educate Your Pet!

Some of our pets may have formed bad habits over the past year, so what can we do to fix the issues and help them feel better because of it..? See the tips below!

Pet Care Tip #1: What To Do If Your Dog Strains at the Leash

Take your puppy out for his walks like normal, but every time he strains at the leash just stop. Stand still for as long as the puppy pulls at the leash. He might keep straining for a bit, but if you keep standing still he will realize that the straining does not get him any closer to the thing he wants to see. Once the leash is relaxed, you can continue the walk. Over time, your puppy will realize that you are the one in control and that he won’t be able to get anywhere at all if he strains. Soon you will have a pet who can stroll happily at your side with all the grace of a champion!

Pet Care Tip #2: What to Do If Your Dog Barks While You Dine

Solution: Do not ignore him. He will only continue barking to capture your attention! Though you may be tempted, don’t give him your food; that will only teach him that barking works! Do not shout at him; this will only rouse him and hurt his feelings!

Instead, look at him in the eye with an almost stern and challenging look. Keep this gaze until he looks away! By doing this you are sharing that this is your meal and not his. Every time your pet barks at you while you eat, follow this behavior pattern; over time he will learn that barking loudly does not get him treats! Once he learns his manners you can share your meal with him more pleasantly.

Pet Care Tip #3: What to Do If Your Cat Scratches the Furniture

Cats love to play. And scratching, it seems, tends to be quite a fun activity for them! But you don’t need to feel like you have to choose between your cat and your furniture. Instead of buying only the cheapest furniture because “Princess will ruin it anyway,” provide special scratch towers rubbed with catnip. Doing so will draw your pets away from your special furniture. (See this pets.webmd article for the full details on this good advice).

Pet Care Tip #4: What To Do If Your Cat Does Not Use the Litter Box

Every once in awhile, some of us have a cat who will not use the litter box. This problem can be a special kind of nuisance because it always seems to make a house smell horrible! Plus you have to spend time extra cleaning up. Fortunately, the solution to this problem can be very simple. Cats love clean places, so taking a little extra time each day to keep the litter box very clean might help your pet use the litter box as trained.

Help Your Pet Stay Healthy!

Plan Your Vet Visit

A healthy pet is a happy pet. Your pet deserves to be as healthy as can be, and taking him for his yearly examination is just the beginning! When you go to your vet, make sure that you have a comprehensive list of questions regarding diet, recommended amounts of exercise for your pet, and whether you have missed out on anything important in regards to pet care. Once you have done this, you can put into practice all that you have learned and provide expert pet care for your furry friend.  

Make Time for Exercise

Make sure to provide plenty of exercise for your pet (see our article from last month about how to take your pet for a healthy stroll). But don’t stop there! To be healthy and alert, your pet also needs to spend time roaming free in his natural habitat. For those pets without a fenced-in yard, free roaming might seem like a disastrous idea! Luckily for us, there are some options available for these less-than-promising situations!

  • Option #1: Buy an inexpensive fence set (like an “Easy Pet Fence”). These kits provide you with enough fencing materials to set up a fun play area in your yard for your dog to enjoy safely.
  • Option #2: Get a cable for your pup. Cables can be hooked between two trees or set up in other ways. You can attach your dog leash to the cable runner, which will allow him to have a lot of free rein to run about!
  • Option #3: If you don’t have a yard for your pet to play in, try to think of places where he can roam free, such as a good friend’s house who has a big, fenced-in yard or Grandma’s house in the country! If you can, bring your pet along with you when you visit! Just don’t overstay your welcome!

Pamper Your Pet

Surprise Your Pet With New Toys!

Some fun ideas include the following:

  • For your dog: a soft, malleable frisbee. The soft ones are less likely to hurt your pup’s mouth or gums!
  • For your cat: some of these just might drive your cat crazy, which he will love of course!

Supplement Your Pet’s Food Every Day!

  • Add a little olive oil to each meal (this will make the meal tastier and also provide some health benefits for your furry friend).
  • Add your leftover dinner food to your pet’s supper as long as the foods don’t contain anything harmful for pets!
  • Read and borrow ideas from this great article that shares 33 delicious dog food recipes!

Treat Your Pet to a Day at the Spa!

How many times have you picked up your pet from the groomers and found him to be completely happy and relaxed from all of the special treatment? Groomers are highly experienced professionals who know how to interact with animals and help them feel refreshed. A spa takes the regular groomer visit a step further by making a full day of the event. Making sure that a trip to the spa (or the traditional groomers) is part of your pet’s regular care regimen would be a special treat for your pet this year!

Maintain Your Pet’s Fabulous Appearance!

Once your pet has been groomed by professionals (be it once a month or so), you will want to maintain their beautiful appearance! Some of the suggestions on how are less time-consuming than you might think!  

For Dogs

  • Some experts recommend brushing the coat every day for just about 5-10 minutes. This short amount of time is all that is necessary to maintain a healthy coat if done on a consistent basis.
  • Trim your pet’s toe nails on a weekly or biweekly basis. A dog’s nails should never be so long that they scrape the floor! If your pup spends a lot of time outside (where dirt and rocks may rub away at the nails), you may not have to trim as often. The important thing is to look at the length of the nail and trim accordingly!
  • Schedule a yearly dental checkup with your vet. They will be able to check to see if any concerning health issues have developed and also provide a thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums (also, PetMD experts share that if your pet seems to have abnormally bad breath it could be an indication of health complications; for this you should contact your vet immediately).

For Cats

  • Since cats like to groom themselves and tend to be more shy of  human touch, some experts say you many only want to brush your cat’s fur on an “as needed” basis. Cats with longer hair might need to be brushed every day while cats with short hair can be left alone for a day or two between brushings!
  • Cat’s nails are much harder to trim than dogs because cats are so sensitive and independent. Web MD for pets actually offers a complete guide on how to go about this. In short, they suggest only cutting one or two nails at a time (basically dividing up the process into multiple sessions); and they recommend trimming the nails (or having them trimmed) every two weeks or so.

Plan a Year of Fun-Filled Activities!

Take a Walk to the Pet Park

Pet parks, more commonly known as dog parks as they cater more to the needs of  dogs, are becoming popular in more and more cities. They are basically parks where dogs can roam free. While this idea might require you to drive a bit further than you normally would when going to the park with your pet,  don’t forget that most of our furball friends love to go for a drive! Once you get to the pet park, you will get the chance to socialize with other pet parents and your fuzzy friend will be so happy to also socialize with more of his kind.

Take Your Pet to Camp

Many cities now have what are known as pet camps where you can drop off your pet for either “sitter” care or for fun bonding time with other pets! Look for one near where you live and consider letting your pet stay there if you have to go out of town for a weekend or two. This will allow him to make pet friends and experience something new!

Plan Play Dates With Your Pet’s New Friends

Many of our pets have friends they have met when out with family or at other places around town. If they could speak they would probably ask if they could please go hang out with “Duke down the street!” Make it a point to arrange play dates for your pet with other pets that they like to hang out with! If you have a friend or close relative nearby who has pets; make sure your fuzzy friend gets to meet theirs! If planning is put to action, hangouts with friends and family can often equal play date time for your pet!

Book a Pet Vacation

Pet vacationing is a very fun thing to do. And makes it so simple! Use the website to book a “My Pet and Me” vacation! Honestly, in one browsing session you can find pet-friendly bars, restaurants, hotels, B&B’s, and more in so many places around the world! If you are planning a pet vacation, you do want to consider the kinds of things pets love to do; so visiting a beach where there is sand and water to play in or visiting a mountainous region where there are fun hiking opportunities might be something to especially consider!

The website also contains some info on international travel, ie. pet-friendly airports etc. If you want to travel far with your pet however, try to be really careful. There are some sad stories about mishaps during air travel. Some animals might not be able to handle the pressures of flying (certain breeds are more prone to respiratory problems for example), so consider booking vacations in nearby locations or in ones you can reach by car or train! Also, never forget to consult with a professional before taking an extensive vacation to ensure that your pet in particular is up for this brand of fun!

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Now that you have plenty of tips for making this year a great one for your pet, we hope that the experience for you both is equally wonderful!


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Shallowford Animal Hospital and The Pet Spa at Shallowford are dedicated to the exceptional, compassionate care your pet deserves. Pets hold a very special place in our families, and we treat yours like our own.