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New Years Resolutions

First off, let me say that I’m so sorry I’ve been away for Christmas and couldn’t get to a blog post last week! I do hope, however, that you and your family have had a wonderful, peaceful holiday season and that like us, you’re excited for the new year to come. Of course, with the end of December, we turn our attention to the coming year and with it, resolutions for self-improvement. On every television, we see advertisements for healthy foods, exercise equipment, and dietary supplements promising to get us back in shape and in top physical condition for the new year. Of course, it really is a great time to begin again with any self-improvement ideas that you’ve been thinking about, but what about your pets? Committing to resolutions that focus on your pets’ health and happiness will not only help them to live better lives, but will also help you to keep your own resolutions. To get you started, we have a few ideas for you…

First, establish a baseline of your pet’s health by scheduling a check-up with your veterinarian. Just like people do, pets should have a yearly check-up to make sure that all is well both inside and out. Your vet can alert you to any problems your pet may be struggling with in terms of weight or other health problems and can also direct you to any good diet or exercise plans your pet might benefit from in the coming year.

Next, consider establishing a plan that allows you to integrate your own goals with your pet’s goals. For instance, if you’re resolving to get more exercise, you might establish a daily morning jog with your pooch. If you’re counting calories as a way to establish healthier eating habits, also make a pledge to serve your pets the proper recommended servings of their food each day. So often, we might simply fill our pet’s bowl when a recommended serving size is ½ cup of kibble for a 10-pound dog. If weight is a struggle for your pet, double check to make sure that you allow them only the recommended amount of food each day to help improve both their weight and overall health.

Another way to improve the quality of life of both you and your pet is to incorporate more playtime or together time into your days. Both dogs and cats love to play and engage with their humans and spirited play can provide multiple benefits. First, you’ll be establishing additional bonding time with your pet, which provides a healthy emotional boost for both of you, reducing symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, and secondly, you’ll be incorporating disguised light aerobic exercise into your pet’s routine, which is beneficial even for the healthiest of animals. If you or your pet is tired of the same old toys and routines, try out new play activities this year to help keep their attention and to boost your own creativity at the same time. Your house is full of inexpensive items that will inspire cats’ hunting instincts, such as the little plastic ring from the top of a gallon of milk or a ball made of aluminum foil. Dogs, of course, will love anything they can tear into and are more social creatures, so old stand-bys like tug-of-war or fetch are still great options as long as they can feel like they’re bringing you joy and that you approve of them.

One of my personal resolutions this year is to take better care of my nails and certainly, grooming your pet daily can be an equally healthy resolution. According to Pet MD, daily grooming helps to distribute natural oils through your pet’s coat, helping to keep their coat shiny. Additionally, grooming every day will help to rid your pets’ coat from excess fur or hair, which will help you to keep your home cleaner and free of hair. Plus, similar to the bonding play activities above, grooming can also be a powerful bonding experience that helps to soothe and comfort your pet.

There are also a few resolutions for the new year that you can do to help benefit your pets, even if they don’t correspond to one of your own self-improvement ideas.

For example, you might think about taking a more active role in your pets’ dental health routine, using our teeth-brushing guides for either dogs or cats from earlier this year. You might also resolve to adopt a foster pet from a shelter in town and bring some extra love into your home. Another idea may be to improve your yard or outdoor space to help ensure your pets’ safety. Adding a fence (traditional or electrical) or a shelter for your pets are two obvious ways you can help keep your pets safe while playing outside, but pay close attention to your outdoor spaces to find other ways to help improve your pets’ experience. Stow away your cleaning or treating chemicals in inaccessible places, fill in any holes that could pose a danger to pets, and secure any lawn tools or instruments that might attract your pet.

What are some of your ideas for New Year’s Resolutions that can help both you and your pet have a healthy, happy 2014?

Sources: ASPCA, PetMD, Healthy Pets

 

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