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New Year’s Resolutions For Your Pet

Dogs don’t make New Year’s resolutions. They don’t worry about their body image, and they eat whatever they can get, even if some of it is nasty, or technically not food. Ask your veterinarian about some of the things he or she has found inside a dog. And dogs don’t pledge to exercise more.

As pet owners, sometimes we need to make resolutions on behave of our pets. A dog who’s getting a little bit chunky needs a person to help him get more exercise, or to measure a bit less into the dog bowl and no pet will make his own appointment with the veterinarian. It’s up to us to make sure our dogs have preventative care.

I’ve made a couple of resolutions on behalf of my dogs. I resolve to wash the dogs’ beds more frequently. I mean well, but I just don’t think of it. I don’t crawl into their crates with them, so I don’t really notice when the bedding gets dirty and/or excessively hairy. I’m going to aim for once a month. When I turn the calendar to a new month, that will mean time to wash those beds.

Along those same lines, I’m going to try to keep them brushed. Corgis are not hard dogs to take care of, but they do shed, especially in the spring and fall. Their coats don’t tend to mat, so, sometimes, I just ignore all that hair until they look particularly shaggy. This year, I’m going to get them up on the grooming table more often.

They look so nice when there aren’t tufts of loose hair sticking up.

I do fairly well at keeping their nails short. I don’t do nails myself, but I do get them to the groomer every three weeks or so. She attacks them with her grinding wheel, which Corgis seem to accept much more readily than clippers.

All of these things apply to cats as well. A good scratching post can help keep cat claws trimmed, but most house cats will also need their nails clipped occasionally. Wash your cat’s bed and take a vacuum to that cat tree once in a while. Also, scrub out that litter box. It’s not enough to just empty the litter and replace it with fresh. At least once a month, scrub the box, rinse thoroughly, and let it air dry.

I don’t need a resolution to wash my dogs’ food dishes because I do that after every meal. Sometimes people just keep refilling the bowl. After all, the dog has eaten all the food and the bowl looks clean. Ask yourself if you’d want to keep using your dinner plate without washing it between meals. After all, if you lick it, it will look clean. When I ran a boarding kennel, I had a client bring in the dog’s own dishes. The food dish had dried food caked on. I had to soak it for several hours to get it clean. Dogs don’t ask for much. Clean the food bowl.

That advice goes for water bowls, too, and I am guilty of not washing ours every day. It’s so easy to just rinse it out and refill it. This year, I’m going to do better. Yes, the bowl is stainless steel, which does mean a slippery surface that discourages germs, but a bit of scrubbing is always a good idea.

If your dog wears a collar, consider giving it a scrub now and then. Body oils and dirt can accumulate on a collar. If it’s a leather collar, use a bit of saddle soap, or some mild soap and water. Don’t soak it; wash and wipe it off with a soft cloth. For nylon collars and harnesses, try a bit of shampoo, which will cut the grease. A toothbrush makes a good scrub brush. You can also put collars and harnesses in a lingerie bag and wash in the washing machine.

Periodically check your leashes for wear. While both leather and nylon are durable, they can develop weak spots, especially where hardware might rub against them. If you see signs of weakness, replace the leash. Years ago, my parents’ dog snapped his leash on a walk. They were able to catch him, but the ending could have been tragic. Keep your dog safe with a quick check of leashes, collars, and harnesses.

Think about your own pets and what you can resolve to do that will keep them healthy and safe.

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