Thinking of New Year's resolutions? Don't forget your dog!

Give your dogs a fresh start

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  • | 4:00 a.m. December 26, 2013
  • Winter Park - Maitland Observer
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The New Year is a great time to revisit your goals. It’s a fresh start. This year when you create your list, think about what you can do to make this upcoming year the healthiest one yet for your dog.

How can you do this? First, be nutritionally responsible. Look at what you are feeding, become familiar with the list of ingredients, learn what constitutes an appropriate diet, and then decide what you will feed. Poor nutrition can affect your pet’s skin, coat, muscle tone, and potentially cause myriad health problems.

Control your dog’s weight. Help him lose weight if necessary. Measure your dog’s food, and if your dog is overweight, feed at the weight you want him to be, not what he currently weighs. Replace high calorie treats with vegetables such as carrots or celery.

Look at ways to give your dog more and better quality exercise. Regular walks are good, and should be part of your daily routine, but are often not enough to keep your dog physically fit. Swimming, jogging, or running on a treadmill are great additions to your routine. Try an agility or obedience class or any of the other types of fun classes offered for dogs. Enroll him in a good doggie daycare program; one that gives your dog individual attention, quality exercise and mental stimulation.

Regularly groom your dog. Bathe and brush him regularly, brush his teeth, clip his nails, and take him to the groomer if necessary. Dogs that aren’t regularly groomed can develop skin and coat issues.

Get an annual health check-up from your veterinarian. These check-ups help you be proactive in your pet’s health care, and allow you to address any concerns you may have.

Last but not least, give your pets lots of love and attention. This may seem obvious, but because of our busy lifestyles, our pets often are neglected. Take time to focus individual attention on each of the animals in your life and nourish that special relationship. You will be rewarded many times over!

Sherri Cappabianca, an expert in the field of canine health and fitness, is the author of two books on canine health, and the co-owner of Rocky’s Retreat Canine Health & Fitness Center, and Barking Dog Fitness, a Gym for Dogs, both located in Orlando. For more information, visit or