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New Year’s Resolutions for Dogs with clinical pet nutritionist Johnna Devereaux

{ By Johnna Devereaux (Clinical Pet Nutritionist }

12 re(solutions) to make your pup healthier and happier throughout the year! It’s that time of year when we reflect upon how we’ve spent our time and think about things we’d like to do a little differently in the New Year. This year, not only are we celebrating a new year but we are also celebrating a new decade! So let’s make the most of it!

 1. Take a new stance on treats! 

Make sure the treats you buy have less than 9 ingredients, are free of artificial additives, have no chemical preservatives & are free of wheat, soy and corn!

2. Add water to your dog’s meals! 

Adding water helps the digestion process and is a simple way you can ensure your dog stays hydrated. This is especially important if you feed a dry food that has all moisture removed. The rule of thumb is 30% water to the amount of food. Have a picky pup? Start with a lower amount and gradually increase over time—and remember, no one likes mushy food—so food in the bowl, water in the bowl, bowl down for feeding!

3. Clean those teeth! 

Some experts believe that proper oral health can prolong your dog’s life by 20%!

Isn’t that worth the effort? Not only does brushing your pet’s teeth help prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar but it also prevents bacteria from accumulating in the mouth—these same bacteria are linked to cardiovascular (heart) health!

4. Try walking on a harness and leave the collar for ID tags! 

Constant pressure caused by a dog pulling on collar can result in a variety of health problems. The area of the neck the collar lays sits directly on the thyroid glands and trachea—opt for either a front-lead or no-pull back-lead harness instead.

5. Engage in mental stimulation games! 

Did you know that 15 minutes of mental stimulation tires a dog as much as hours of physical exercise? Dogs have an intelligence level equal to that of a 4-yr old child—introduce a puzzle toy or if your pup is a beginner, try placing treats around the house at various heights and let them “smell” their way to their prize! 

6. Aim for a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise each day with your dog!

 Too cold to go outside on a walk? Try puppy pushups (a series of having your dog sit, then down, then sit, then down…you get the picture here), do stairs (you may have to join them for a few rounds of up/down), or take a soft toy and play fetch inside! Of course there’s nothing like a walk outside—but you have options!

7. Introduce LIVE probiotics! 

Live probiotics help diversify the microflora in the GI tract which has numerous benefits on your pet’s health. **Make sure the probiotics you use are pet-safe and free of Xylitol**

8. Teach a new trick! 

There’s more than just sit and stay! Get creative! There are lots of step-by-step easy to follow guides on the internet—you’ll be surprised at how eager our pups are to learn new things—and how addictive teaching new tricks can be!

9. Let your dog chew!

 Aim for at least one long-term chew per week as part of their diet regimen. Chewing is a natural behavior and is not only beneficial to their oral health but also their mental health! When our dogs chew the neurotransmitter, serotonin is released which helps support several mental functions. (Long-term equals a minimum of 10 minutes of chewing time.)

10. Play! 

A game of hide and seek is fun for everyone! If you can’t hide yourself then hide a favorite toy or high-value treat. Make the hiding spot easy to find (at first) and then gradually make it harder over time!

11. Add Sardines! 

High in omega-3 fatty acids, DHA and EPA, sardines help support eye and brain health. Be sure to buy sardines that are canned in water without salt added and still have the bones and skin. The bones are necessary to ensure the proper calcium to phosphorus ratio is being achieved and have no fear—the bones have been preserved and are quite mushy—even us humans could eat them! IMPORTANT NOTE: Only feed 3-5 days of the week and NEVER feed sardines that have been open for more than 24 hours.

12. Kiss your dog daily and remember to have fun with them! 

They are here with us for such a short time—enjoy them and appreciate them! 

Johnna Devereaux (Clinical Pet Nutritionist): Johnna Devereaux has been a small business owner for over a decade. Devereaux is the founder of Fetch RI, a holistic pet boutique and supply retail store.As a Clinical Pet Nutritionist, Devereaux has been invited to speak at veterinary hospitals to speak about the benefits of proper nutrition for dogs and cats. Devereaux has also been a repeat presenter at Potters League University, teaching children and adults the benefits of feeding pets in a species-appropriate way. Devereaux’s writings can be found in Animal Print magazine, Rhode Island’s Family Guide and the 2019 Health and Wellness Guide for Southern New England. Devereaux has been featured as a Trailblazer in the pet industry by Pets+ Magazine and her store, Fetch RI, has been awarded “Best of Rhode Island” by Editor’s Pick and Reader’s Choice. Fetch RI has also been awarded “Top Dog” by Animal Print magazine. Devereaux has completed a BFA from New York University and the Clinical Pet Nutritionist program from the Academy of Natural Health Sciences.

Johnna Devereaux, CPN is a Clinical Pet Nutritionist, the Director of Nutrition & Wellness for Bow Wow Labs and Owner, Fetch RI. Www.bowwowlabs.com