A New Year usually signifies a new start with new plans and goals. People often make new year resolutions to get healthier, spend more time with loved ones, achieve new goals and travel more. But New Year resolutions aren’t just for people - it's also a great time to develop some new routines and habits for your pet. Maybe you want to teach your pet a new trick, take them on a trip, go for more walks, or just find ways to get your whole fur family healthier. The beginning of a new year is a great time to for both people and pets to start a new healthier daily routine.
For example, with over 50% of pets in America classified as overweight, there is no better time than the beginning of a new year for homeowners to commit to a new diet and exercise routine for their pets, not just themselves. Need some ideas? Here are 10 resolutions to make 2020 your pet’s healthiest year yet!
#10 - Monitor how much you feed your pet!
Many people “eyeball” the daily intake of their pet and pour whatever they think is the right amount into a bowl, which usually leads to their pet overeating and putting on weight. It's important to use an 8-ounce measuring cup to make sure your pet does not consume more calories than necessary. The recommended feeding guidelines on the bag of kibble are a good starting point to learn how much food Fido (or Kitty) really needs. If your pet tends to hoard their food, constantly begs for food and overeats, or can't control their cravings, a natural healthy weight remedy can help control the amount of food they eat and make sure that they stay at their optimal weight.
#9 - Choose an age-appropriate diet
Older animals and those that have been neutered/spayed generally have lower energy requirements than intact young animals. However, some may have other medical problems such as degenerative joint disease that can be helped with an appropriate diet. Growing pets have very specific nutritional needs to ensure the health and strength of their bodies. Choosing a diet specifically adapted to the phase of life of your pet is a great way to keep them healthy. Always remember: each pet is unique, and their nutritional needs may be similar or very different to what feeding guidelines suggest.
# 8 - Try a new activity with your pet
From doga (yes, yoga with dogs) to hiking, it's easier than ever for people to incorporate their pet into a new exercise routine. This is a great way to bond, it will get you both out of the house, and both you and your pet will enjoy the benefits of healthy physical activity. Local Meetup groups are a great way to find like-minded pet owners who will join you in your exercise, provided you stay 6 feet away! Ask your local community center as well if they organize any activities for you and your pet to participate in.
# 7 - Incorporate (more) play time into your routine
Cats love the thrill of chasing a laser toy; don't tell them it's exercise! Toys that trigger the predatory instinct of a cat are a great way to get off the couch and practice a little aerobic activity. Besides, during the winter, some owners don't take their dog out as often, so try to find some ways to play together inside. Tug-of-war and Hall Ball (throw a ball down a long hallway and have Fido chase after it) are only a few of the many activities you and your pet can do together.
# 6 - Make an appointment with your veterinarian
Annual exams from your veterinarian are a key element of good preventive care. Many medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, or obesity are common in aging pets and much easier to control if detected in the early stages of the disease. Veterinary visits are also the perfect time to ask for advice, update your pet's recommended food needs, or get expert opinion on behavioral issues that may affect your relationship with your pet.
# 5 - Groom your pet daily
Brushing your pet serves many purposes. It removes excess fur from the coat, reducing the amount they shed, and the amount you find on your clothes and furniture. It helps distribute natural oils from the skin to the fur, keeping the coat shiny and healthy. Finally, daily grooming is a bonding activity that demonstrates to your pet how much you love them by taking care of them in a very soothing and relaxing way. In the new year, schedule some time each week to give your dog or cat a good brushing. They'll thank you for it!
# 4 - Practice good oral hygiene with your pet
Daily tooth brushing is the best way to keep tartar and plaque away - though be sure to use toothpaste specially made for dogs and cats. Water additives and some dental treats are also available to reduce tartar and keep your pet's breath fresh. If your pet has sore gums, stomatitis or is suffering from painful mouth inflammation, then natural remedies such as BestLife4Pets Oral Health for dogs and cats can help to reduce the pain inflammation, often preventing the need for tooth extraction. However, even with all these tips, regular cleanings by a licensed veterinarian are the best way to keep those pearly whites in top form long into your pet’s older years.
# 3 - Teach an old dog new tricks
Studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in aging animals. In other words, keeping your senior pet's brain active can actually make them healthier! Teaching your pet new tricks and practicing the ones they already know are a great way to keep their neurons in action. Puzzle feeders, which force an animal to think and solve a problem to earn a treat, are also a great way to keep a pet engaged.
# 2 - Update your pet’s info
Over the course of a year, many things can change - people move, get new phone numbers and emails. However, owners often forget to update their pets' tags. They only remember when the animal is lost. If any of your contact information changed in 2020, do not wait: update their tags and microchip information today! This is the best way to ensure that a lost animal gets home safely. There are even apps you can use to keep track of essential information, such as a record of your pet's shots or their latest checkup. However you do it, make sure you have current, reliable, information about your pet for this new year.
# 1 - Consider fostering
You think you want a new pet, but are not 100% sure that it's right for you? Try fostering. Many animal shelters and rescue centers need loving homes to provide safe and temporary living conditions for pets. It's the perfect way to test the waters of pet ownership without the lifetime commitment, since you are simply hosting a pet while they are waiting for their forever home. And who knows? That home could end up being yours!
It's never to early or too late to form some good habits. Since there is no better time then the present, all you have to do is start; and before you know it your pet will be happier and healthier. After all, aren't they worth it?
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