14 New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier and Happier Dog in 2023 - Clear Conscience Pet

14 New Year’s Resolutions for a Healthier and Happier Dog in 2023

  1. Reduce carbohydrates in your dog’s or cat’s diet: high-carb commercial diets are the chief cause of obesity in dogs. Just because a food, treat, or Topper is “grain free,” it is not necessarily low in carbs. High Carb “red flags”: avoid products with too many ingredients like wheat, corn, rice, potato, tapioca, sweet potato, pumpkin, and other non-protein ingredients listed high on the ingredient panel. No bread and pizza crust as snacks!
  2. Even if you feed “raw” pet food, you must re-energize it with Live Probiotics, Active Enzymes, Prebiotics, and Postbiotics: “Raw” pet foods aren’t really raw anymore! The federal government (primarily through the USDA and FDA) and state AAFCO pet food regulatory officials have adopted a zero tolerance policy towards commercial “raw” pet foods. Whether the food is frozen raw or freeze-dried, it must be subject to an accepted “kill step” to eliminate the possibility of pathogens such as Salmonella, Listeria, and E. Coli. The most common kill step used in so-called “raw” pet foods is High Pressure Pasteurization (HPP), a process that treats food by putting it in plastic bags and submerging it in tanks that exert up to 100,000 lbs. of pressure per square inch. While the exact mechanism isn’t fully understood, the result is that the cell walls of pathogenic organisms collapse and the bacteria are killed and can’t reproduce. It’s a fascinating technology, but the bottom line is that the end result is that your so-called raw food is now significantly altered from its natural state. And along with the bad bacteria being killed, all of the beneficial organisms and active enzymes are destroyed as well. Raw food manufacturers and advocates say that raw is the best way to feed a dog because it most closely mimics the natural diet of wild canines, including active organisms that feed the gut microbiome and support proper digestion, nutrient absorption, and immune health. If you use frozen or freeze-dried raw pet food, you should be supplementing with active gut health supplements. SuperGravy is the ideal daily gut health supplement because besides great taste, every SuperGravy formula provides our proprietary Trigestive™ complex of live probiotics, active enzymes, and prebiotics which contribute to postbiotic metabolites.   
  3. Make identifiable MEAT PROTEIN from clean sources the cornerstone of your canine food choices. Healthy meat protein ingredients include fresh or freeze-dried Chicken, Turkey, Beef, Lamb, Egg, Fish, etc. Important: Dry kibble foods should contain concentrated dry proteins such as Chicken Meal, Turkey Meal, Dried meats, Dried liver, etc.
  4. Don’t use products with chemical preservatives, artificial flavors and colors, or other food additives Stay away from foods, treats, toppers, and supplements with chemical preservatives including: propylene glycol, BHA, BHT, propyl gallate, ethoxyquin,and all artificial colors. Avoid all forms of glycerin including “vegetable glycerin.” 
  5. Sugar is bad for dogs!  Eliminate sugar from your dog’s diet. Sugar may be listed in many forms, including evaporated cane juice, high fructose corn syrup, agave nectar, fruit juice concentrates, maple syrup, and honey. Exception: small amounts of these ingredients may be used as natural preservatives in moist treats instead of glycerin or glycols.
  6. Avoid OVER-SUPPLEMENTATION with synthetic vitamins and minerals: foods approved for daily maintenance are already required by law to include a long list of vitamin and mineral supplements.
  7. Shop wisely for your pet food or treats to fight inflation, but don’t fall into the trap of looking for the cheapest food your pet will eat OR choosing the most expensive food you can buy! The cheapest is bound to disappoint you with its results, and the priciest may be a very good product but still not right for your dog or cat.
  8. Learn to read pet food labels and if something doesn’t make sense or you don’t know what a certain ingredient is or WHY it is there, don’t hesitate to call or write to the manufacturer.
  9. HYDRATE dry dog food, no matter what the quality, for optimum digestion and stomach health. Do this either by simply adding water and allowing the food to absorb moisture, adding canned food, or by using SuperGravy, an award winning dry gravy mix that actually helps moisture to BOND with dry kibble.
  10. NO ONE FOOD OR TREAT IS PERFECT FOR EVERY PET! If coats get dull, “stiff,” or greasy, your pet gets a sudden case of the “itchies,” or if you start to see skin irritations sometimes known as “hot spots,” your pet may be developing an allergy or sensitivity to the food or treats you are using.
  11. LESS VACCINES: MORE TITER TESTING. Reconsider “routine vaccines” as part of annual vet exams; instead, ask your veterinarian to do blood work and send it out for titer testing by a reputable lab. This testing assesses your individual pet’s level of antibodies to a wide variety of canine and feline diseases.
  12. DELAY SPAY and NEUTER:If you have a new puppy or kitten that has NOT yet been spayed or neutered, consider allowing the animal to reach early adulthood (about a year, depending on the breed) before performing these surgeries. Although there is much heated debate on this subject, a growing number are starting to feel that there are significant benefits to having a dog or cat fully develop “adult strength” bones, muscles, and other organ systems before artificially stopping their hormonal and endocrine systems from functioning as nature intends.
  13. OLDER DOGS NEED TRACTION! As dogs reach older age, their bones age in the same manner as do human geriatric bones, and this is especially pronounced in large and giant breeds. But you may not realize that your older dog’s mobility issues can be helped with something much simpler than special foods, risky drugs, or even surgeries. Simply survey your home for slick stairways and other slippery areas, and provide “paths” with carpeted stair runners and “path rugs” that connect rooms. Help your older dog to regain some confidence and mobility in 2023!
  14. DOUBLE DOWN ON DOGS? Consider becoming a two dog household, if you can afford the cost of food and care for 2 dogs. Dogs with a permanent canine companion are typically much better adjusted and less prone to separation anxiety than single dogs.
© 2023 by Anthony Bennie, Founder & Chief Nutrition Officer of Clear Conscience Pet