Can you believe another year has come and gone? Where does the time go? It feels as if an entire year has passed in a flash. Days can be long and exhausting and then they are over and you’re waking up and doing it all over again. Life can be stressful and feel overwhelming at times, but it just keeps marching along. I find that when I focus more on my dogs and less on myself, I feel happier as a human. Here’s a fluffy little living being who is full of love, wonder, and joy, and they are all mine. I could never repay my dogs for all the love, companionship, understanding, empathy, concern, smiles, laughs, happiness, and joy they bring to my life, but I can do little things to make their lives better, so I do. Every year, every day, I want to become a better pet parent than I was before, and I know you do, too. Dogs make our lives better, and it’s natural to want to make their lives better, so let’s get to it!
Here are some New Year’s resolutions that will make you a better pet parent than you were before and make your pup happier and healthier to boot.
1. Learn The T-Touch Technique
The T (or Tellington) Touch, as described on their website, “is a method based on circular movements of the fingers and hands all over the body. The intent of the TTouch is to activate the function of the cells and awaken cellular intelligence – a little like ‘turning on the electric lights of the body.'” If your pup has recently been through trauma, has digestive trouble, skin issues, fear, anxiety, trust issues, hates the groomer, gets car sick, etc., the TTouch boasts that it can help with all sorts of doggy issues. I used the TTouch after several of my dogs went through trauma and a surgery and I could tell how much my dogs appreciated the gentle strokes about their face and ears as they were healing. I would take their cold floppy ears into my hands and massage them until they were warm. My dogs would soak up the love, and I could tell it was a comfort to them, so I’m a fan of using the TTouch to help dogs feel better. You can buy the book on Amazon or just watch a video on YouTube. It desn’t matter how you learn, just learn some of the touches and reward your dog with a gentle, conscious, bonding session.
2. Follow A Few New Pet Experts On Facebook
I love following pet experts that I admire and respect on Facebook because, through the day, I catch little videos, gifs, and shares that help make me a better pet parent. I learn about nutrition and gain understanding about different behaviors and what my dog is trying to tell me. I learn about pet food recalls, training tips, and what dangers to look out for. If you don’t follow a few pet experts on Facebook, it’s time to start. Here are some of the Facebook pages I find enriching as a pet parent: Planet Paws, Zak George, Dr. Karen Becker, KetoPet, Vibrant K9, DogTime, Truth About Pet Food, SaveADog, The Safe Dog, and Rodney Habib, just to name a few.
3. Introduce Your Dog To New Foods
It’s important to make sure you know what foods are toxic to dogs before you start offering new foods to your dog, so do your homework. I started by giving my dogs green beans as treats, and we just kept going from there. Now my dogs love eggs (cooked and raw), green beans, broccoli, carrots, sweet potatoes, sardines, salmon, lettuce, kale, and a lot of other foods. Your dog will love it, and veggies, fruits, and meats make great supplements to your pups diet.
4. Clean Your Dog’s Face Regularly
My sister and I adopted two dogs that are mother and daughter. My dog, Gertie, is the mother of my sister’s dog, Sarah. I noticed that Gertie is very affectionate with Sarah in ways that my other dogs have never been with each other. There’s clearly a mother and daughter bond between the two. One of the most demonstrative ways Gertie shows Sarah her motherly love is that Gertie is always cleaning around Sarah’s eyes and face when they are together. It’s how Gertie greets her daughter, and she does it periodically when we are all hanging out together. Sarah loves it. She closes her eyes and relaxes, soaking in the motherly love and affection. Now I take a damp rag once or twice a day and gently rub around the eyes and faces of all of my dogs. I never do this when my dogs are stressed out or full of energy, I usually do it when we are are all calm and sitting on the sofa, relaxing. Be careful if you are doing this to a dog who doesn’t like their face touched. It’s not worth risking injury or stressing a dog out, but I have found that most dogs really love a gentle face bath with lukewarm water, and I feel a stronger bond with my dogs.
5. Read A Book About Dogs
Pick any book about dogs that you are interested in and read it. Not just an article but an actual book. I find that soaking up the knowledge from a real book is so much more enriching and enlightening than when I just read short articles or essays on a topic. There are great books on dogs and cancer, dogs and grooming, dogs and training, dogs and fitness, and dogs and their behavior. If your dog is having any behavioral issues, find a book on that topic and read about it. There are books out there about every dog breed known to man and how to communicate with, train, clean, and live better lives with our dogs. If you read one new book about dogs every year, you’re not only going to be a better pet parent, but you’ll soon be the dog expert of all of your friends and family, ultimately helping all the dogs in your extended family live better lives with your sage advice, recommendations, and wisdom.
6. Make A Homemade Meal For Your Dog
Give your pup a break from the kibble and make a homemade meal for your dog. I love to Google a dog food recipe and make up a batch of real food for my dogs. I was afraid at first and would cook the food for my dogs, but with time I got braver and started feeding them raw meats and veggies. My dogs have seen plenty of benefits, and they get lots of compliments on their coats, breath, and overall health.
7. Watch The Film Pet Fooled On Netflix
As pet parents, it’s important to educate ourselves about our dog’s health and nutrition and how we can help our dogs eat the best diet for them. That can mean a lot of things to a lot of people, but you’ll be able to make more educated decisions about what’s best for your dog after watching this film. Pet Fooled goes behind the scenes of the pet food industry to reveal what foods you can trust and which companies you should avoid. This movie will shock you, amaze you, and open your eyes, but most of all, it will make you a better pet parent.
8. Watch The Truth About Pet Cancer Series
Cancer is something that affects humans and our pets alike. Cancer is killing so many people and animals we love, but old information about cancer seen through new eyes shines a light on the cancer epidemic and arms you with tools you can use to help your dogs avoid the pain and suffering that comes with a cancer diagnosis. If your dog already has cancer, The Truth About Pet Cancer is a MUST WATCH. This video series will change your life.
9. Treat Fleas And Ticks Naturally
Instead of buying toxic flea sprays, collars or drops, try making your own homemade flea spray this year. Simple items in your home can keep fleas and ticks away as well as the harsh chemical sprays we’ve used on our dogs for so long. Give your puppers a break from the toxins this year and treat fleas the natural way. There are lots of different recipes for homemade flea sprays, shampoos, and treatments, so just find the one that works best for you and your dog. Last year was the first year I didn’t buy any flea drops for my dogs. I made my own flea sprays and shampoos with apple cider vinegar and ordered a bottle of Wondercide, and we got through the entire year without any toxic chemical flea treatments. I really didn’t think it could be done, but I speak from experience–it CAN be done! I know because I did it. I have 4 dogs and I live in Southern California where it’s warm all year round and I didn’t use any toxic flea drops or sprays this year. I made a resolution to make my own natural flea sprays and at least try them out to see if they work, and they really did work. I sprayed my dogs down once or twice a week with the homemade flea spray, and the great thing about using natural ingredients is that you can spray them down any time they are itching or scratching and just rub it in–problem solved.
What are some things you’ve done that have made you a better pet parent? What books or videos have inspired you? I’d love to learn from you, so please share in the comments below or reach out to me on social media to share your thoughts and insight!