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10 great things to do with your dog in 2018 for a healthy, happy pet

Country Living (UK) logo Country Living (UK) 01/01/2018 Katie Avis-Riordan

10 great things to do with your dog in 2018 for a healthy, happy pet © Yevgen Romanenko / Getty 10 great things to do with your dog in 2018 for a healthy, happy pet For many of us, our dogs are one of the most treasured things in our lives. So making sure they are as happy and healthy as can be is a must for devoted pet parents.

Banish boredom, boost their health and wellbeing, and offer them new experiences to make 2018 the happiest and healthiest year your dog has ever had.

From New Year's Eve onwards, here are some great ideas for you to try out with your beloved pup…

1. Welcome in the New Year with your pooch

New Year's Eve is similar to Bonfire Night in that the evening is filled with noise, partying and fireworks. This can be unsettling for your dog, so make sure they feel safe, secure and are having a nice time in your company. Read our tips for keeping your dog happy and stress-free while fireworks are going off here. And, of course, lots of cuddles, games and treats help.

a dog lying on a colorful toy © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

2. Stay at a dog-friendly hotel or holiday home

One lovely idea for celebrating the New Year with your furry friend – or at any other time of year – is to stay at a dog-friendly hotel or holiday rental. A beautiful country retreat is best, as you'll have the chance to enjoy the beautiful surroundings, as well as the comfortable accommodation, which both you and your pet will love. Take a look at these six amazing breaks for you and your dog to boost wellness and energy.

3. Make some useful New Year's resolutions for your pet

To kickstart the year make some beneficial resolutions for your dog to follow. If they are overweight, why not go for longer walks with them and introduce a healthier diet plan, which you can discuss with your vet.

Other resolutions could involve teaching them a new trick, or, if they are a little too mischievous, take them to a dog behaviour course.

a dog sitting in the grass © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

4. Make some homemade dog treats

We all know dogs love food so why not make your pet some delicious and healthy treats sprinkled with love? You can find lots of tasty recipes online to try out.

5. Make DIY dog toys

What do dogs love just as much as 'walkies' and food? Toys! Show your devotion to your dog by turning your hand to some DIY and make your own dog toys to leave them entertained for hours. Watch our video guide here to find out how to make three awesome homemade dog toys your pooch is sure to get a waggy tail over.

6. Find new activities for you to enjoy together

Rather than sticking to your tried-and-tested routine, try new activities that both you and your dog can enjoy together. Visit new places, walk new countryside routes, go wild swimming with your dog, do day trips together or join dog walking groups. This will ease boredom and provide mental stimulation for your pup - and yourself.

a man swimming in a body of water © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

7. Pamper your furry friend

Not all dogs enjoy a good pamper, as being muddy and dirty can be the preferred state for some. But if your four-legged companion does enjoy this, then visit a dog spa or salon, where they can have a relaxing bath, groom, haircut, and physiotherapy.

a small dog sitting on a table © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

8. Look out for their health

Lisa Hens, RSPCA dog welfare expert, gives some advice on how to keep your dog healthy and happy...

"Dogs can be vulnerable to a range of infectious diseases and other illnesses, such as ear infections, dental disease, skin infection and arthritis. Obesity is also one of the most common conditions in dogs.

"Check your dog for signs of injury or illness every day and contact your vet if you have any concerns. It may not always be immediately obvious that your dog is in pain as individual dogs show pain and suffering in different ways. Any changes in the way your dog behaves could be an early sign of illness and worth checking in with your vet."

HEALTH CHECK LIST

Teeth - Check regularly for plaque or infection and visit your vet if you become concerned. There are special dog toothbrushes and paste on the market to help keep their teeth and gums healthy.

Weight - Check that your dog is not obese by feeling the outline of your dog's ribs. There shouldn't be any excess fat and you should be able to see and feel your dog's waist.

General health - Ensure that your dog has yearly health checks and ask your vet for advice about vaccinations and flea and worm treatments.

Microchip - It's a good idea to get your dog microchipped, which is now a legal requirement for any dog over the age of eight weeks old.

Neutering - This can protect against some diseases and prevent certain unwanted behaviours, so can be a good option.

Exercise - Track how much exercise they get with gadgets, such as PitPat (£30, Amazon).

Healthy coat and nails - It's key to ensure your dog's coat and nails are kept in good condition with regular grooming, a balanced diet, access to fresh water, and plenty of exercise adequate for whichever size or age your pet is.

a brown and white dog catching a frisbee in its mouth © Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

9. Never leave your dog alone

It's inevitable that you have to leave your dog home alone, whether that's on a regular basis, or, if they're lucky, just now and again. But that doesn't have to mean they don't get attention when you're not there. You could invest in a Furbo Dog Camera (£155, Amazon), which allows you to toss treats, communicate with and monitor your dog when you're out, all controlled by your smartphone.

10. Love them

Apart from trying all these new things for the year ahead, just carry on loving them just as much as you already do, and they'll keep on loving you right back!

© Provided by Hearst Communications, Inc

Related: A Curious Jack Russell Glued His Mouth Shut After Eating Junk Mail (provided by SWNS)

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