Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Pet

pet new year's resolutions

Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Pet

New Year, new you, new routine!  The New Year is a chance for a fresh perspective to better ourselves and our future, but you aren’t the only one in the household who could use a change for the better with fresh New Year’s resolutions. Our pet’s routine, health and overall character deserve a chance at improvement too. Here are ten ways to enhance your pet’s well being moving into the New Year!

10 – Sit, Stay, Come to …Obedience School

Do you have trouble on the leash or is your dog unwilling to listen to commands?  Just as humans, dogs have selective hearing and only listen when they feel necessary. Behavioral problems can affect the atmosphere at home and the full enjoyment of owning a pet.  Do not be afraid to look into intense training programs for dogs of all ages.  A great dog trainer could make this be the year you finally walk Snoopy around the park rather than the other way around!

9 – License and Registration Please

Give yourself and family peace of mind by updating all pet identification on a regular basis.  Information can change in a year!  People relocate, receive new phone numbers and vaccinations expire.  If you have an indoor or outdoor pet, update collar and rabies tags, also all microchip information.  In the frightful case a furry friend does disappear, your odds are much better to find them.

8 – Pamper Your Pet

Who doesn’t like a good massage or clean smelling hair!  Pets love to be pampered!  Form a habit of bathing or brushing your dog (or cat) frequently.  This allows you to have one on one time with them and create a deeper bond.  In addition, it cuts down on shedding and pet hair all over your new black coat!  Even if you’re short on time, treat them to a day at the Doggy Spa, Groomer or Salon.  You will have a happy and fantastic smelling pet!

7 – Yearly Examination for your Pet

As you are scheduling your yearly check up with the doc, do the same for your pets!  To keep your loved one fit, healthy and happy visit your local veterinarian to examine their overall health, continuously changing dietary needs and address any behavioral questions.  This will give your pet a longer lifespan and keep you knowledgeable on your pets needs.

6 – A Healthy Diet …The Correct Pet Foods

Our tastes and nutritional needs change as humans.  The same theory occurs with all animals.  Older dogs may require less of a lower energy food, while younger pups may need larger portions with vitamins and nutrients to aid their quickly growing bodies.  Asking the vet what age appropriate diet your pet needs is important.  Also, the list of pet foods goods on and your vet will have good advice on dry versus wet food, organic versus non.  

5 – No More Table Scraps

We love to spoil our pets!  And we’ve all been guilty of feeding Fido scraps under the table or saying one piece of Christmas ham won’t hurt.  But beware of feeding animals human food. Pets can have negative reactions to our food that could be fatal.  Also, unhealthy foods can cause the same effects on dogs and and humans.  A piece of fatty meat goes straight to the hips!  You don’t want a few innocent scraps to pack on the pounds!  Be careful about measuring food as well.  Loosely measuring a cup, give or take, can slowly add pound after pound to your pooch.

4 – Freshen Up Your Weekend Activities

Find new activities for you and your dog to participate in together.  It not only gets both of you moving, but keeps progressing your loving bond.  Check out animal events occurring in your neighborhood, find a dog friendly trail or get a membership to a local dog park.  These activities will allow you to meet other dog lovers and socialize your pet.  It’s a win – win! We’ve created a list of five Miami “must dos” with your dog. Be sure to read it and share. 

3 – Become a Pet Parent

Are you an animal lover, but unsure you would make a great pet parent?  Becoming a new puppy or kitty parent is a big decision.  Fostering dogs and other animals is a wonderful way to help animal shelters by giving a pet in need a loving, caring and safe home for the time being.  Also, it allows you to make a decision if you really fit the bill to be an owner.  Call your community humane society or foster programs to find out more information.  Who knows, you may even keep them!

2 – Maintaining Weight or Losing it! 

Along the lines of measuring food, watching what you eat and participating in new activities, a regular exercise routine is needed.  Get your pet moving every day.  Try a new walking route or find new toys they can chase around the yard. Invest in new kitty toys to activate their mind and body.  Try making them work for treats!  Hire a dog walker while you are away at work to keep them active throughout the day.  The more they move the longer they will move and hopefully shed a few pounds while doing it.  

1 – Get your Pet Spayed or Neutered

Spaying or neutering your pet benefits both parties.  This prevents overpopulation of dogs and cats and sickness within the breeds.  Also, it decreases your animal’s urge to roam, creates better behavior toward others, and keeps them from marking territory on belongings they shouldn’t. Some veterinarians even offer free spay service to rescue or strays.

Those are a few ideas to kick off the New Year with your pet!  Now put this plan into place and have fun while doing it!

Six Important Ways Your Dog Benefits from Regular Walks

dogs walking

Six Important Benefits of Daily Dog Walks

How often do you walk your beloved dog (honestly)? Do your dogs bark, whine, chew or dig excessively?  Are they restless or do they misbehave around company?  Pay attention, they may be trying to communicate with you.    Many pet owners underestimate the value of a dog walk. Dog walking can improve your pet’s behavior and help them both mentally and physically.  Benefits beyond the obvious can help you and your dog live a happier and healthier lifestyle.  Listed below are a variety of common reasons pups should be treated to walks regularly.

 1. Dog walking promotes health, weight control, and digestive systems.

Pets, just as humans, need regular and consistent exercise to live long, healthy, and happy lives.  Obese dogs have a higher risk for many health problems.  According to betterhealth.com, “Obesity in pets is associated with medical complaints including osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, liver disease and insulin resistance.”  Moving helps the body’s digestion and occasional constipation and helps your pet stay limber, agile, and fit.

 2. Walking alleviates destructive behavior.

Are you noticing a corner of the couch being chewed away?  Are your shoes being destroyed one by one?  Lack of exercise can increase undesirable and destructive behaviors such as chewing, digging, scratching, biting and barking.  Pets are like our children; if they are bored they will come up with something to do on their own… and you usually won’t like it.  What if you or your children were cooped up all day in a crate at home? You’d go crazy without a good book, your favorite Netflix series, or comfort food.  Everyone, including animals, needs stimulus.  Dogs need to see, smell, feel, and hear just as humans do.  A walk around the block, sniffing the neighbor’s grass, or being rewarded with a treat could keep them from acting out in negative ways.

 3. Daily walks also help with hyperactivity.

Some dogs have an endless amount of energy which translates to hyperactivity, an abnormally short attention span, frantic activity, or high impulsiveness.  Pent-up energy can cause inappropriate behavior such as jumping on people, knocking over furniture, running recklessly through the house, garbage raiding, etc.  With longer or more frequent walks our canine friends can be more relaxed at bedtime and less restless in the home.  A calmer animal creates a better day and quiet night’s sleep for both owner and pet.

 4. Daily dog walks address attention-seeking behaviors.

Dogs who are continuously barking or whining are seeking attention.  This is one way they can communicate.  Take this as a hint for more exercise and outdoor activity if they’ve already eaten, had water, are not ill, or have relieved themselves.  It allows the pet to receive the attention they desire and get out excess energy.

5. Walking around the neighborhood encourages socialization

Walking your dog can build trust and promote socialization.  If your pets are timid or fearful this will help them feel more comfortable around strangers, other animals, and new sounds. If your pup is fearful and exhibits extreme shyness or aggression when facing something new, be sure to work with a great trainer who specializes in positive reinforcement training, such as Applause Your Paws here in Miami.

6. Dog walks provide relief!

Of course all animals need a potty break to relieve themselves.  Bathroom breaks are needed for obvious physical reasons, as accidents can happen.  Your dog does not need to be punished for something they physically could not help.  The frequency of breaks depends on breed, age, energy level, needs, routine, or backyard access.  Typically a full grown dog can go 4 to 6 hours without a break whereas a puppy needs to go out once an hour on average. Your silver senior might also need extra outings!

If you don’t have the energy or time, pet sitters or dog walkers are always an excellent option in giving your dog the care it deserves.  Our dog walkers would be happy to help! You beloved dog should never go without a walk.  Walking benefits both owner and pet in more ways than one; enjoy your next stroll through the neighborhood!

To Scoop Poop or not to Scoop, That Is the Question!

Miami pet sitter dog walker pooper scooper

To Scoop Poop or not to Scoop, That Is the Question! This parody of a famous Shakespearean line of the play Hamlet makes us think: why did Shakespeare never write about… poop… the way he wrote about roses?

“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet…” (Romeo and Juliet)

Well, obviously, when we think of things aesthetically pleasing, dog poop does not make the list. No wonder that some dog owners are not particularly fond of scooping it up. But isn’t pet waste also biodegradable and a natural fertilizer? Not necessarily…

What Are The Risks of Not Scooping Dog Poop?

We don’t live in an agricultural society anymore. Our dogs are not out there herding the sheep home or watching the cattle, roaming freely on large areas of green land. We live in big cities like Miami where green areas are smaller and they are often a public property to be enjoyed by pet owners and people with no pets, alike.

We walk our dogs in parks where people also bring their children, sometimes toddlers, to play in the grass and enjoy the fresh air. Toddlers don’t know the difference between dirt and poop, they just see it as yet another thing that they can stick their fingers into and taste. Some dogs do the same: for reasons unknown, they attempt to eat everything they are sniffing, which could be the doo-doo of a sick dog. That way, both humans and dogs are exposed to a higher risk of disease.

Dog poop is a pervasive way of contaminating water: it can be easily washed off into storm drains or nearby water streams, thus polluting it with harmful organisms such as Giardia, Salmonella and E. coli. Decomposing pet waste depletes water of oxygen and can release ammonia, which affects the well-being of fish and other water creatures. Yes, it’s that serious. And did I mention that stepping in doo-doo and possibly carrying it into a house, a car, or a shopping place is a tremendously unpleasant and embarrassing experience?

What Is Equipaws Doing to Help?

Why take a chance? With Equipaws, you will never worry that your doggie’s waste affects the environment in any of these ways. Our pet sitters are proudly equipped with biodegradable poop bags that are properly disposed of during or after the walk.  When we sponsor events such as the yearly 5K Run Fur Fun to benefit Paws 4 You Rescue for the adoption of homeless dogs in Miami, we offer the same biodegradable poop bags to the dog owners participating. And we constantly contribute to educating the public on this topic, either through articles such as this, or through talks, conversations and promotional materials. We are environmentally conscious and we would love to help you be the same.

What Can Dog Owners Do to Help?

We all enjoy strolling in a safe and aesthetically pleasing environment. All of us pet owners can easily help create and maintain it by cleaning up after our dogs. It may not be our favorite part of the walk, but it is so important for our community’s well-being. We want to treat our pets and fellow human beings with the same dignity and respect that we treat ourselves with and our private environment. That creates better relationships and it sets an example for others who are still learning or new to pet ownership.

The Pooper-Scooper Law

In most cities and states of the U.S. the law says that dog owners must clean up after their dogs, with fines ranging from $20 to $10,000 if they fail to do that. The Pooper-Scooper Law of Miami-Dade County provides that dog owners be fined $50 for public nuisance, should they fail to clean up their dog’s waste and dispose of it properly.

Bottom line, our beloved doggie’s doo-doo may never make the rhyme of a beautiful world famous poem, but a gorgeous, litter-free park might just be the inspiration for one. Let us all be partners in creating and maintaining an attractive natural environment that nourishes lifelong memories for children and grown-ups alike, and that can inspire a Shakespeare of our modern days.

Contributed by pet sitter Manuela Nelersa.