The ringing in of a new year can mean a fresh start for both pets and pet owners in need of a change in routine. Perhaps this is the time for you to make healthier more active lifestyle choices for your pet. Perhaps this is the time to implement necessary, life-saving changes to some choices that may have negatively affected your pet’s health in the past (e.g. a new diet for an overweight pet). Or, perhaps you’re just looking to spend a little more quality time with your pet.
With the start of a new year, there’s no better time to commit to new regimens and goals. And, if you’re not sure where to start, here are ten New Year’s resolutions that can help your pet live their happiest and healthiest life yet:
- Try a new activity – Now is the perfect time to get active with your pet, and try something new. Whether it’s hiking, kayaking or even doga (dog-yoga, that is), it’s never been easier or more fun to incorporate pets into new exercise routines. Not only will you promote a better bond between you and your furry loved one, you’ll be rewarding your pet with healthy physical activity.
- Incorporate more playtime – Just as humans do, pets love to play around. Commit to making more time for play, as it gets them off the couch and engages them in healthy aerobic activity.
- Have daily groomings – The act of brushing your pet serves many purposes. Not only is it a great bonding activity that comes with the added bonus of removing excess fur from their coat (that inevitably ends up on your clothes), it also helps distribute oils from their skin to their fur to keep it shiny and healthy.
- Teach them a new trick – Just like humans, pets need consistent mental stimulation. It helps to reduce cognitive deterioration, especially in older animals. So, try teaching them a new trick. And, while you’re at it, keep practicing the ones that they already know. It’s a great way to keep those brain cells firing and your pet happier and healthier longer.
- Measure your pet’s food – It’s important to always measure your pet’s food. Most pet owners “eyeball” their pet’s daily intake of food. However, this is often an act that leads to overfeeding and weight gain. Always measure according to the recommended guidelines, and if you have any questions concerning portion sizes, ask your veterinarian.
- Opt for an age-appropriate diet – Just as important as food portions, different pets at different stages of their lives require different diets. Younger growing pets, for example, have very specific nutrient requirements to ensure that their bodies grow healthy and strong. On the other hand, some senior pets with, say, lower energy and medical issues may benefit from a diet that can combat and slow degenerative symptoms.
- Practice good oral hygiene – While not always feasible, daily tooth brushing is the best way to keep tartar and plaque from building up. If you can’t brush your pet’s teeth, try water additives, dental diets or treats that are designed to reduce tartar.
- Schedule yearly exams – The best way to keep your pet’s health in tip top shape is to invest in preventive care. Don’t forget to schedule your pet’s annual exam, as things like diabetes, arthritis and obesity are extremely common medical conditions in aging pets that often go unnoticed or uncared for. Exams are also a perfect time to ask any and all questions that you may have concerning your pet’s daily habits.
- Update your pet’s ID info – A new year is a perfect reminder to update your pet’s microchip, tags and records. Most pet owners don’t remember to do this until their pet is actually lost, but then it can be too late.
- Consider fostering – If you’re going into the new year thinking about getting a new pet but aren’t quite sure, try fostering. There are so many animals out there who could use a safe, loving home, even if it’s just temporary. It’s a great way to test the waters of pet ownership, and it’s a great way to help an animal in need.
No matter how you choose to update your pet’s routine this year, we encourage you to do whatever it is that will help your furry family member live their happiest and healthiest life. Happy New Year!