Believe it or not, 2017 is coming up fast! Nearly half of all Americans make some type of New Year’s Resolutions.
What about you? If you’ve already begun to think about your goals for the coming year, have you included your pets in any of your resolutions?
Resolutions for pet parents don’t have to involve making huge changes. In fact, if you avoid overwhelming yourself, you’ll be far more likely to stick to your plan throughout the coming year.
Here are 5 simple ways to make 2017 the best year ever for you and your furry friends!
5 Resolutions for Pet Parents
1. Feed Them Well
Do some digging to determine if your pet’s food is the best quality you can afford. Do some research on how to read labels, read reviews, or talk to your vet to make sure that you are purchasing the healthiest food that makes sense for your budget. Here is an article about choosing a healthy dog food.
Once you’ve settled on a high-quality food, make sure that you know the appropriate amount to feed your pet. With over half of the pets in this country being overweight or obese, it’s clear that overfeeding is an issue. Your vet can help you to determine what is the right amount for your pet to eat. If you measure your pet’s food instead of just eyeballing it, you can be sure that you’re not giving him too much or too little. And be careful with the treats too! Too many tasty tidbits can add up to unwanted extra weight on your furry friend.
2. Get Enough Exercise
Here’s a goal that can benefit both of you. If one of your new year’s resolutions was to exercise more, why not include your dog in the fun?
If you share your life with a dog, you’ve most likely got a live-in running buddy lying at your feet! Or, if running’s not your thing, you could try hiking, swimming, biking, or any other heart-pumping activity that you both enjoy. Your dog may be just the motivation you need to stick to your resolve, and the exercise will be good for him too!
Chilly lost six pounds in the past four months, in part, due to my dedication to making sure he got at least one long walk a day and one dog park visit a week. He’s now at a perfect weight (according to our vet) and it shows in his energy level… he’s much less lazy!
If you’ve got a cat, you’re not off the hook! Kitties need exercise too. You may have to get a little more creative, but you may be able to entice your cat into some active play by dragging a tempting toy dragged across the floor for him to chase. Or some cats prefer balled up paper or catnip toys.
3. Keep Their Brains Busy
Did you know that pets can get bored? That’s right — our furry family members need mental stimulation to stay happy just as much as we do!
You can give your pet some good mental exercise by teaching him new tricks (and the time spent bonding with you is an added bonus!) Make sure to keep practicing what he learns — give him the chance to show off a bit!
Time spent together is great, but the fun doesn’t need to end when you’re not around or are too busy to play. You can also challenge your pet’s brain with toys that dispense treats. Encouraging cats or dogs to work for their treats or food is called contrafreeloading, and it can have huge benefits!
Believe it or not, when most animals are offered a choice between a free meal or food that they have to work for, they actually prefer the food that requires some effort. Treat-dispensing toys are a great way to keep them content by letting them work for their food, and they’ll also keep them happily occupied when you’re not around.
4. Take Care of Their Health
If you’re not already in the habit of taking your pet to see the vet for annual wellness visits, 2017 is the perfect time to start! Regular checkups will make it easier to catch any potential health problems early, which is your best chance to keep your furry family members healthy! Treating health issues early is better for your pet’s health, and it can potentially save you a lot of money since preventative care is a lot less expensive than many medical treatments.
And speaking of veterinary expenses, one way to prepare for those unexpected bills is to consider pet insurance. With pet insurance you will have peace of mind that you’ll be able to afford the best care for your pet, should he have an accident or illness.
I first purchased pet insurance for my dog Chilly when he was 1. He’s 7 now, and I’ve counted 44 insurance claims filed in the last 6 years. Pet insurance has saved us over $2500 this year alone! You can get a free quote on pet insurance from Petplan for your dog or cat here.
5. Spend More Time Together
Your pet would rather have your time than anything else. Bonding is good for you both! Spending time with pets has been proven to lower stress levels in humans and contributes to better physical and mental health.
So for both of your sakes, make a point to carve out some time in your day for some quality time doing whatever your pet loves best. Spend some time curled up on the couch with Fluffy while you enjoy your morning coffee. Or take Fido out in the back yard for a game of fetch when you get home from work. You’ll reap the benefits of a happier pet and a happier you!
What will you do for your pet in 2017 that you haven’t been doing before?