New Year’s Resolutions for Pets and Their Owners

Many people get away from their routines and indulge over the holidays, and use the beginning of the new year as a chance to get back on track.  New Year’s resolutions for pets are just as important as ours, since many of us see our pets as family. Thinking about their health and well-being is important too!

Health and fitness are typically on the top of people’s resolution list.  Pets can be good motivators for exercise.  While you may be tired when you come home from work, having an excited dog wagging their tail when you come in the door can give that extra push to get out and go for a walk.  Build the exercise plan for you and your furry friend into your routine.  For example, if morning exercise helps get your blood pumping before your work day, plan to take your dog for a jog when you first wake up.  Exercise can be a good stress reliever for both people and animals.  If you live close enough your workplace, taking a lunch break to run home and walk the dog can be a good mental break, as well.  This can also help dogs who suffer from separation anxiety; giving them a shorter time frame away from you in addition to wearing them out can typically make dealing with anxiety issues easier.  Obesity can be just as dangerous in pets as in people.  Cats also benefit from physical activities, like chasing a toy on a string or eating out of a puzzle feeder.  Sticking to veterinarian-recommended diet plans are important to keeping your pets in a healthy body condition.

Celebrating New Year'sWhen it comes to New Year’s resolutions for pets, considering their physical and mental health can also make training easier. Many dogs who display behavior issues typically lack the amount of stimulation needed.  Regular walks can help communicate to the the dog what is expected of him.  This can include walking by your side and paying attention to commands for a portion of the walk before being allowed freedom to sniff around and explore the environment.  You can utilize tools like a head-collar or no-pull harness to keep the dog from pulling.  Work on basic commands like sit, stay, and come in the home so you can use those tools if needed.  If you have a dog who tries to bolt out of the door when people go to leave, working on things like waiting at the door before going outside and coming when called are a matter of safety.  In addition to working with the pet, enrichment toys can be a good way to provide mental stimulation for both dogs and cats.  Foraging toys that require pets to work at getting treats out of them can entertain them for a longer timeframe and wear them out mentally. Chase-and-seek-type toys and games that give cats the opportunity to stalk and catch their “prey” can be the most enriching.

We encourage New Year’s resolutions for pets and owners. If you have any questions about how to make your pet’s life better in the new year, give us a call!  Have a healthy, happy 2016!