The start of a New Year is a great time to think about your dog's changing needs and sort through a few of your dog's details to make sure everything is in order. Here are a few things to check each year.
When did you last check that your dog's microchip details are correct and up to date? If you can't remember who your dog's chip is logged with or you are not sure how to check your dog's microchip details, this article should help How To Check Your Dog's Microchip Details.
Also check that your dog's ID tag complies with the law. All dogs (with some working dog exemptions) are required to wear a dog identity tag by law, whether your dog is microchipped or not. The Control of Dogs Order 1992 mandates that any dog in a public place must wear a collar or tag with the owner's name, address and postcode on it. Your telephone number is optional but advisable. For more information about what should go on a dog tag see Dog Identification and the UK Law. Check your dog's ID tag. Make sure all the info is on there and make sure it is still legible. If not, get a new dog ID tag for your pooch.
For Your Diary
Go through your diary for the coming year and make a note of worming dates. Responsible dog owners must make sure their dog is regularly wormed. Also note on your calendar other important dates such as when to do flea and tick treatments, when vaccinations or titre testing is due and when pet insurances are up for renewal.
As a responsible dog owner you must also ensure that your dog does not stray. Do a yearly inspection of garden gates, fences and perimeters. Check that everything is intact and that there are no areas of rot or damage to fencing or any potential escape areas. Also check that your dog's harness and walking equipment are in good condition and still fit correctly.
The New Year is also a good time to consider that your dog is another year older. Think about their age and consider if they need to start a senior diet or if their daily food and exercise needs require any adjustment. Also think about any supplements that an older dog might benefit from. Check your dog's waistline. As dogs get older they can gain weight. If you are not sure how to check if your pet is at their ideal body weight please see Dog Weight and Dog Obesity.
A food that has suited your dog for years can become a problem to their system over time. As another year has passed, a review of their food can be beneficial. Your dog's general health, skin condition and poo will tell you all you need to know. Look out for any signs of intolerance such as pink or itchy skin or poo that is a light colour or of a less than solid consistency.
When did your pooch last get a health check at the vet? Ask your vet to do a check of their general health, weight, teeth and gums, hearing, eye sight and so on. It is also a good idea to get your vet to check that they can pick up a microchip reading. There are known cases of microchips migrating, so it is worth having your dog's microchip scanned at least yearly.
New Year Resolutions
Resolutions can be for your dog as well as for you. Is there anything you could improve next year or anything you would like to do in the form of new activities with your dog? Think about all the things they need or enjoy. Do they get enough walks? Would they benefit from having their teeth cleaned more often? Do you groom them enough? Could you teach them a few more tricks or do other types of training or activities with them? Don't forget that a healthy and mentally stimulated dog is a happy dog.
Many of us and our pets will have to contend with the sound of fireworks at this time of year. There are a number of things you can do to make things more bearable for your dog if they find the sound worrying. Our Dog Fireworks Fear and Surviving Bonfire Night article will give you some ideas on how to deal with dog firework fear.
Enjoy Another Great Year
Wishing you all a safe, happy and healthy year with your furry friends.