New Year Resolutions For Pets And Their People

It is the start of a new year! I am sure many of you have a short list of things you'd like to change in the new year, goals to work towards, and accomplishments to be tackled. Resolutions are extremely popular this time of year, as many people look at the start of a new year as a clean slate. If you have pets at home, now is a great time to set some resolutions for them too! Here is a list of 10 things to do this year to help your pet live a happy, healthy life!

#1. Take your dog for a daily walk. A lot of new years resolution lists include "get more exercise" and  "lose weight". If you have a dog, you have a ready and willing exercise partner to help you do both! And this resolution is great for the both of you!

#2. Have your dog or cat microchipped, or if already microchipped, make sure all the contact information is up to date. Also verify that any information on an ID tag is current.

#3. Measure your pets food. Make sure that they are eating the exact amount you mean to give them in an effort to maintain a healthy weight. Winging it leads to potentially overfeeding and weight gain. And if you have a voracious, super fast eater, consider getting them a slow feed bowl. It will slow them down and help them digest the food easier.

#4. Feed your pet a high quality food. It will be easier to maintain a healthy weight, and with good quality ingredients your pet will be better able to utilize the nutrients they need, leading to less waste to clean up. Look for real ingredients that are familiar to you, and not words that you can't pronounce. Also make sure it is an age appropriate diet, like puppy or kitten food for young ones, possibly an "all life stages" food, or a senior diet for older pets.

#5. Schedule a wellness exam for your pet. Just like us, your pets need to see a medical professional at least once a year to make sure they are in good health, proper weight, and to potentially catch small issues before they become medical emergencies. That is also a great time to discuss with your vet any concerns you might have, and they can help you determine things like what type of diet/food/serving size is best for your pet. It is also important to keep your pet up to date on vaccinations. A little preventive medical care can go a long way.

#6. Teach your pet a new trick! Doing training with your pet is a great way to bond and spend time with them. Whether you are teaching them basics like sit, stay, down or some kind of fun trick like playing dead, any time you spend engaged with them is time well spent. Training sessions help develop good behaviors and mentally stimulate your pet. Just remember to keep them fun and always end on a successful note.

#7. Try a new activity with your pet. Things like hiking, nose work, dock diving, or agility are all great ways to spend time with your pet, and present opportunities for bonding and socializing. Many of these activities may also help you reach your goal of being more active or losing a pound or three. 😁

#8. Bathe and groom your pet regularly. While good for helping keep your pet clean and smelling good, it is also a great time to notice potential health risks. While shampooing your dog or brushing your cat, take some time to look for things like sores, cuts, cysts, fatty tumors, ticks, or things that look or feel strange or different. By doing this regularly, you will get to know your pet and be able to notice changes quickly.

#9.  Just spend time with them each and every day. Let them know you love them and care for them. Take a few minutes and get down on the floor with them and rub their bellies, scratch that spot right behind their ears, or let them curl up on your lap while you rub their back. It's good for them, and great for your mental health too!

#10. Consider fostering a pet. Not ready to make a lifelong commitment? Concerned about medical costs? Not sure your lifestyle is conducive to having a pet? Fostering a pet is a great way to test out those waters. Fostering a pet is a great way to see if living with a pet is good for you. You are providing a much needed loving home while the shelter or rescue finds a forever home/adopter, often allowing them to save more animals. In most cases, the rescue or shelter will cover all medical costs while you are fostering. And who knows, you may wind up falling in love.

New Years Resolutions. They aren't just for you. Involve your pet, and you can help each other reach your goals. Have a fantastic year!