With the start of the new year, we often look to set goals to allow ourselves to live better, healthier and more well-rounded lives. These goals and resolutions don’t have to just be for people. Our furry family members could likely use a change in their routine to help them be healthier and happier. Below are five new year’s resolutions both you and your pet can enjoy.
- Eat a healthier diet:
So many of our own New Year’s resolutions revolve around diet and weight loss. As with people, the concern for obesity is also growing in our dogs and cats alike. Following simple guidelines such as – always measuring your pet’s food (with a measuring cup), choosing an age appropriate diet and reducing the number of calories our pets eat through treats are just a few ways to ensure your pet stays a healthy weight.
- Increase exercise:
Another way to help with your pet’s weight loss and/or weight maintenance goals is including your pet in your exercise regimen. For dogs, it’s great to have a backyard to run and play in, however active and focused walks or runs are a better way to exercise both mind and body. Since most cats are primarily indoor, increasing play time using laser pointers and interactive toys as well as using kitty walking wheels can be effective for weight loss and, most importantly, fun!
- Go on more adventures:
Our society is becoming more and more pet friendly and therefore it is becoming easier to include your pet in many fun activities. These activities include hiking, camping, swimming (beach and/or lakes), doga (yes, dog yoga), city walking tours, dining out and many more. Including your pet in these activities are a great way to strengthen your bond and experience new things together.
- Learning new tricks:
Yes, you can teach an old dog (or cat) new tricks! Continued learning with your pet, especially senior pets, can help decrease cognitive decline and keep their brains happy and healthy. Teaching new tricks, reaffirming old tricks and including new puzzle toys will help to keep your pet’s mind and body well stimulated and healthy.
- Improve wellness and preventive care:
Everyone’s New Year’s resolutions should include improving general wellness care, and your beloved pet should be no exception. Scheduling annual exams (or semiannual for geriatric pets) with your veterinarian, continuing to pursue appropriate vaccines and monitoring wellness bloodwork can be great ways to maintain health and catch medical concerns sooner. Additionally, increasing focus on your pet’s oral hygiene through daily brushing and pursuing dental cleanings with your vet are also great ways to maintain your pet’s teeth and general health.
Author: Dr. Barbara Angelino