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Published: Dec 20, 2012

With the New Year only a few days away, many people are gearing up to fulfill a resolution - either by joining a gym, cooking up some healthy foods or simply spending more time with family and friends. Dog owners may want to take some time to think of a few resolutions that will help out their animal companions. Here are some ideas to ensure your dog's pet health and wellness will be top notch throughout 2013.

1. Vow to help your pet shed extra pounds
Obesity in dogs is sadly a common occurrence, and if you think your canine may be overweight, you should make it your priority to help her get down to a healthy size before the end of 2013. First, you'll need to determine if your pet is at a healthy weight. When you feel for her ribs, you should be able to find them without digging your fingers in too deeply, but also shouldn't see any individual ribs when looking at her side. If your pet does seem to be a bit heavier than normal, consider talking to your vet about creating a new dietary plan. You can also schedule several "exercise walks" into your weekly routine - these are brisk strolls usually done using a short leash, and they can help your dog get her heart rate up.

2. Schedule vet visits now
It's essential to take your dog to the veterinarian at least twice a year. A great way to make sure your pet's health is on par in the coming year is by scheduling your visits to the vet well in advance and setting reminders for yourself so you don't forget to show up. Place a call to one of your local vet hospitals shortly after the new year and ask for a recommendation on when you should bring your animal in for a visit.

3. Teach your canine a new trick or two
Dog or puppy training is a great way to bond with your pet, and it can also make your dog more intelligent. If your canine only knows a few tricks, consider adding some additional commands to her repertoire. Sit, stay, come and heel are all common tricks, but if you want to get a bit fancier, you may want to teach her how to give you a "high five" or roll over. Be sure to purchase plenty of treats to provide positive reinforcement as she develops her new talents.

4. A clean coat for 2013
Want to help your pet get a clean start for the new year? Then make a vow to take care of her coat throughout the year. Dog grooming is something many pet owners can do on their own with a bit of pet-friendly shampoo and a brush. If your dog grows hair instead of fur, then schedule a few visits with a professional groomer to help keep her coat under control.

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