Pull Your Pets into Your New Year’s Resolutions!

It’s that time of year when we adopt New Year’s resolutions in the hopes that we’ll improve our life with positive actions.

According to a government website, there are a number of popular resolutions and, surprisingly, many of them can involve both you…and your pet!

The first that comes to mind is “lose weight.” An increasingly large percentage of Americans are overweight and/or obese, and our pets follow suit. If we are going to make an effort to lose weight, keep your pet in mind, too.

Many of us begin by counting calories or making wiser eating choices. (By the way, “eating healthy food” is also on the resolution list.)  Selecting a high-quality dog food, or even a “diet” pet food might make sense if your companion animal is primarily sedentary. Check with your veterinarian on your dog’s or cat’s nutritional needs.

“Get fit” seems to be on many lists and your pet can help you fill that need! If you have a dog, they need to be walked and in almost any weather, you can brave the elements and take an extra turn or two around the block. If you are stuck indoors due to inclement weather, even a simple game of indoor fetch helps you both burn calories. (Check our posts to get even more ideas!) And as for your favorite feline, there’s nothing like a good cat toy or laser pointer to turn a pudgy pussycat into an active athlete!

With more and more information and activity bombarding us, “manage stress” may top your list. You can take many strategies to tackle this resolution, whether it’s simply bowing out of too many commitments or taking a yoga class. But when it comes to managing stress, the easiest solution may be right at hand: your pet! Studies have shown that simply petting your dog or cat can help lower your blood pressure. And your dog and cat will think that together time is pretty special, too!

Some people resolve to “take a trip.” If you can’t bear the thought of being away from your favorite four-legged friend, you don’t have to. Many travel destinations welcome pets these days, and there are posts here at Pet Health Central that can provide guidance on how to travel with your pet! Pick your destination, pack your pet, and get on the road to adventure!

Next is to “volunteer to help others.” I can pretty much guarantee that, wherever you live, there’s probably an animal-related rescue group that ALWAYS can use a helping hand. Whether it’s fundraising, helping to work to socialize adoptable pets, a drive to collect blankets and towels (always needed) for shelter pets, they can use your skills. If you have skills in other areas, (perhaps you’re handy with tools or are a skilled writer or speaker), let them know. I’m betting your skills will be appreciated.

Last on the list for today is to “reduce, reuse and recycle.” Surprisingly, that can apply to our pets. Two key thoughts are to spay and neuter your pets to “reduce” the number of unwanted animals, and “reuse and recycle” by adopting a shelter pet in need. Particularly keep in mind senior pets, which make wonderful companions.

I’d like to think that if I include my pets in my New Year’s resolutions, I’m doing double the effort with double the benefits! Talk about a win-win!

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