Happy New Year! The New Year’s a good time to re-examine not just our own daily habits, but those of our pets. They rely on us not only to feed and care for them, but to direct their way of life. We set an example for them, and today we’d like to offer some suggestions to better both you and your pets’ lives this year.
Many people feel motivated to exercise and hit the gym this time of year. If one of your new year’s resolutions includes being active, you can include your furry friend in your daily workouts!
Take your dog on a run or a jog, or even a swim when able! Most dogs don’t just love being physically active, they need to be for their health.
If outdoor activities aren’t possible, you can also play with your pet at home to encourage exercise they need to maintain a healthy build. Tug-o-war, tag, play wrestling, and fetch can all be adapted for indoor play for dogs, and cats love to chase anything that remotely resembles fur or feathers.
Another way to work in some exercise is with toys, some of which require little to no effort from you. These are great when you need a break but have a particularly energetic pup or cat.
There are various toys designed to lessen the effort required on your part, while keeping engagement in the game high for the pet. Toys with puzzles built in, or specific things that need to be done to get their edible reward from the toy are a good purchase.
Exercise is important for both our pets’ health, and our own, but so is rest and relaxation. In order to make the most of our rest time, we must make sure to keep a clean and engaging home environment for ourselves and our animals.
You may have hobbies you wish to pursue this year, and your pets will need things to occupy themselves during downtime too. Enrich their environment with things such as cat towers, scratching posts, and toys. Spending time with them in their place of rest is also very beneficial to their wellbeing.
If possible, when choosing your living space, you should consider your pets and their needs. Many animals don’t do well in certain climates, so make sure to research whether your intended place of living is compatible with the pets you’d like to have. If it’s not, you’ll have to go that extra mile to make your living space comfortable and safe for them.
Another very common thing for us to re-examine this time of year is our diet to better our health. Why not consider if what we’re feeding our pets is best for them, too?
Like us, many pets have preferences in what food they eat, and while it’s good to allow them some choice, it’s up to us to decide how much, how often, and what exactly they eat.
If you’re on a healthy eating kick for 2023, bring your pet along too!
There are various healthy options of dog and cat food that formulate their recipes with real, whole ingredients. While they may be a little more costly, they truly are a worthy investment for the health of your pet.
A diet full of nutritious foods wouldn’t be complete without healthy, tasty treats. That’s right, treats can be healthy too, and if you’re looking for some ideas or recipes for healthy pet treats, check out this post we shared last year.
When considering diet changes, additional research about your pet’s breed and weight is advised. It is always best to consult with a veterinarian when considering your pet’s dietary needs and overall health.
We all take care of our pets as best we can, and if we can help it, keep them secure. But, sometimes, the unexpected happens, and one way or another, a pet gets lost. Luckily, there are options for pet identification and tracking.
Many pet owners debate over collar identification and microchipping. In many cases it’s recommended to have both, just to be safe. Sometimes the chip can malfunction, and physical identification tags can become damaged or lost, so neither are complete solutions on their own.
The start of the year is a good time to update your emergency measures around the house as well. It is helpful to practice fire drills and escape plans with your pets, so that if any urgent situation were to occur, the animals are familiar with your guidance.
This is also a great time to update the pet placards or window clings that alert emergency personnel that there are pets in the home. These often include the number of pets, and this might have changed over the past year.
One last good safety practice is being familiar with pet first aid and signs of illness. Like with their diet and exercise, they rely on us to deal with major health problems, and their prevention, so being proactive is best!
Signs of Pet Illness
• Vomiting or irregular stool
• Lack of appetite
• Decreased activity level
• Irregular urination
• Hair loss
• Itchy skin
• Difficulty with movement
• Changes in personality
Some pets are better than others at keeping themselves clean, but even cats need us to help take care of them from time to time.
Some pets require grooming, especially those with long hair. If you’re not confident in your ability to do this yourself, there are many great groomers out there who could give you advice for your pet’s breed, and how best to care for their fur.
Another part of bringing in the new year is getting rid of old and unused items, so let’s get our pets new things too!
Replace old and ratty toys with new ones, get new balls and introduce your pet to new types of toys every now and then, too. If your pet has an old favorite toy that you’d like to keep, make sure you take good care of it, clean it often and well, and repair it if possible.
Even an old dog can learn new tricks- and they should! Keeping your pets entertained and engaged with training that rewards them with things that they enjoy will keep your pets obedient, and will encourage them to keep what you want them to do in mind.
Dogs especially love to be praised for doing a good job, and daily training’s a good chance to engage with your pets in a positive and bond-growing way.
While cats are generally less susceptible to training, they aren’t completely immune to it. Many cats, like dogs, enjoy having a “job” that serves the family. Some enjoy hunting, and will bring back food for you to “appreciate” as well, while others will alert you to the presence of pests and bugs in and around your home.
With some trial and error, you can discover what task your pet enjoys doing, then help them improve at, and reward them for doing well.
Another great thing we can do for our pets is to take them to new and interesting places. Like us, our pets are social creatures, and not only do most of them enjoy new experiences, they love making new friends, and delight in the chance to do so in a fun place.
Dog parks are a good place to visit, given that your pet is well-trained enough to be there. If your cat loves the outdoors, a cat stroller could be in store for you this year!
While not all pets can be taken to other places, there’s always ways you can find you give them new, fun experiences at home, too. Create an obstacle course or a scavenger hunt, play a new game together, invite a dog friend over for a playdate, or even make them special treats.
You can also continue to introduce new and interesting things to the environments of your indoor pets, especially cats. A bored pet can quickly become destructive, and keeping them happy and occupied is a good way to prevent this bad behavior.
The most important thing we can vow to give our pets this year is our love. Along with lots of pets and cuddles, these pet-positive resolutions are a few ways to show your pets you love them in 2023!