Of course, not all resolutions apply equally to dogs and people. Here are two to make for your pet that you don’t need to make for yourself — but which will give you peace of mind.
ID. You’ve considered it long enough. But this is the year that you will finally choose an ID tag from the display at your veterinary clinic or local pet store and place it, along with your dog’s rabies tag, on her collar. If a deterrent to following through on this has been a sense that the tag will only come off over time, custom-order a collar online that shows your dog’s name and your contact information in legible block lettering. Of course, you should also make your current address and phone number traceable through your dog’s microchip — more insurance that she will be reunited with you if lost. Found pets are now routinely checked for a microchip, and quick identification means a quick return home.
Baths. Bathing need not be a haphzard event resulting from your dog’s chance encounter with malodorous who-knows-what. A clean dog is a huggable one, and regular bathing — anywhere from once every couple of months to once a week — even helps dogs with certain skin conditions. Granted, many dogs are averse to the whole sudsing and rinsing experience, but they like how they feel afterwards. And changing the way you go about washing your pet can make bath time more pleasant. First, make sure the water is warm — not cool warm and not hot warm — and keep the nozzle away from her face while talking in soothing, reassuring tones as you massage her body with the shampoo. (There is no need to wash your dog’s face with anything more than a warm washcloth.)
Remember not to use human shampoo in place of pet shampoo–dogs have a different skin pH than we do. And have several towels on hand so that you can give your pet a luxurious rubdown afterwards. If your dog has knots, use a dog conditioner or conditioning spray to painlessly untangle her hair.
Along with bathing, keeping your dog brushed on a daily or near-daily basis improves circulation, removes debris, can alert you to ticks or skin wounds, and generally provides a soothing experience for your pet.