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New Year's Resolutions to Make for Your Dog

dog walking on leash in a cross walk

By now you may have made your New Year's resolutions. But have you made resolutions that will help make your dog happier and healthier in the year to come? Here are a few easy-to-keep resolutions that will get the year off to a great start.

Healthier diet: You know how you feel after eating the wrong foods: the feelings can range from guilty (at the least), to bloated, uncomfortable, and worse. If you feed your dog ''junk food'' or a low-quality diet he may not feel guilty, but it could upset his digestive tract and impact his overall long-term health. So, play it safe and make sure you keep him on a healthy diet consisting of food that provides all necessary nutrients for his stage of life. PEDIGREE® Food for Dogs, for example, has a wide variety of high quality, delicious recipes that are nutritionally complete. You’ll find varieties to help support different areas, such as skin and coat, hip and joint, and weight

More exercise: Has your dog's lifestyle been on the lazy side? Does he spend more time lying around than running about? It's up to you to get him out and about and active again. The dog park is calling—and it's saying, ''Pay me a visit and run, jump, catch, fetch, frolic, and play.'' And if the weather is cold or rainy, find your dog's favorite toys and engage him in a nice indoor play session. Not sure how active your dog should be at his life stage? Ask your vet for some advice and guidelines.

Wellness checkups: When was the last time your dog visited the vet's office for a regular health examination? These exams are essential. Even if your dog seems well, your vet can identify conditions in their early stages and suggest appropriate treatment. So, if your dog hasn't been to the vet lately for a wellness checkup, make an appointment now.

Better oral care: Did you know that four out of five dogs over the age of three may develop gum disease?* Most people don't realize the connection between gum disease and general overall health. Studies indicate that the bacteria associated with gum disease may also impact heart, kidney, and liver health. So, check your dog's mouth for these telltale signs of gum disease: constant bad breath, red, swollen gums, and difficulty chewing hard food. If you notice these symptoms, tell your vet immediately. Your vet will help you develop a daily oral care routine for your dog.

To help keep your dog healthy, you can feed him PEDIGREE® DENTASTIX™ treats every day. This treat has a unique texture that is clinically proven to reduce plaque and tartar buildup—a contributor to gum disease—when used as part of a daily oral care routine.

If you haven't already noticed, these New Year's resolutions for your dog are also ones you could make for yourself: eat better, get more exercise, and see your doctor and dentist regularly. After all, wellness is for everyone in your family, whether they have two legs or four.

*American Veterinary Medical Association

  • When Should You Switch Your Senior Dog to Soft Food?

    smiling lab sitting in front of brick wall

    As your dog ages, you’ll likely notice changes in your best pal’s energy levels, routine and even muzzle. Older pets may require adjustments to help them get around, exercise and live their best life as a senior. One important aspect of caring for a dog entering their golden years is diet.

    When it comes to diet, every dog has unique, individual needs, regardless of age. So, there's no one easy answer to the question of soft food versus hard food. Both types of food can provide your dog with the nutrition they need — as long as you feed your dog a high-quality dog food that’s nutritionally balanced and complete.

    two dogs eating from two bowls

    Signs Your Senior Dog May Benefit from Wet Food

    If your dog has very specific health concerns, such as aging joints or weight issues, consult with your vet for more information about what type of food best addresses your dog's needs. That being said, there are a few reasons why you may consider switching your senior dog to soft food.

    fluffy brown dog yawning showing teeth

    Teeth Sensitivity

    As your dog gets older, their teeth may become more sensitive, which can make chewing kibble more difficult and even uncomfortable. Switching to a soft food can help to alleviate your pet’s oral discomfort when eating.

    However, if your dog is experiencing serious pain at mealtime from a condition like tooth decay or gingivitis, switching to soft food won't remedy the problem. Make sure you talk to your vet about oral care and dental treatment.

    Digestion Aid

    Digestion begins in the mouth with saliva, so if your dog has a tendency to scarf down meals, they may not be adequately chewing the food or adding enough saliva to it. Soft food can aid with digestion because it's more easily chewed.

    Hydration Help

    It’s no surprise that wet food has a higher moisture content when compared to dry kibble. If your senior pup is prone to urinary-tract issues or simply needs a little help staying hydrated, canned dog food may be a good choice.

    girl kissing older dog on the head

    Slower Metabolism

    Aging dogs tend to have a slower metabolic rate compared to their younger years, which puts them at a higher risk of becoming overweight or obese. Many nutritionally balanced wet dog foods offer high protein content with fewer carbs than dry food, which can benefit older dogs with slower metabolism. Always talk to your vet if you have concerns about your pup’s weight.

    Picky Eaters

    While wet food may be less than appetizing to humans, the opposite is true for dogs! If your aging best friend has started turning their snout up to dry food, wet food tends to be more appealing to picky eaters. Mixing wet food and kibble offers your pup a variety of flavors and textures; try adding wet food as a topper on dry food for a real treat!

    Whether you choose dry food, soft food  or a mix of both, ask your vet before making any transition. And when it's time to switch your dog's food, remember to do it slowly — even if it's the same brand and flavor — to help prevent stomach upset and allow your dog time to adjust.

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