Tis the season for goal setting. You might want to include your pets in New Year’s Resolutions – what changes would he or she aim for to be a healthier, happier friend?
For example, your pet might want to:
Get more exercise
When it’s cold outside, it’s easy to trade your dog’s walk for a quick trip to the yard and another chew toy, but exercise is important all year round. Getting out in the snow can even be fun as long as you are both dressed for the cold and take the conditions into account. Cats can be enticed into exercising using chase games with string toys and laser pointers.
Learn something new
Training can be a fun activity in its own right – it provides bonding time and mental stimulation, and can be a good substitute for a longer walk when the weather is just too lousy for your dog. The added bonus is the result; your dog will have great manners and know all kinds of cute tricks and games. Cats can be trained too – tricks like high-fives are a huge hit with company.
Okay, so your pet may not actually endorse this one, but eating healthy should be on everyone’s list. Healthy treats like frozen green beans, or a different kind of kibble than his everyday food are great alternatives. Packaged treats that are high in sugar, salt and fat, as well as human foods and table scraps, should be kept to a minimum. Treats should be no more than 10% of your pet’s daily calories (5% is even better), and have to be counted in his daily total – that is, if he gets a treat every day, his scoop of kibble should be adjusted accordingly.
Do something different
While you have places to go and people to see, you, your home, and your neighborhood may be the extent of your dog’s experiences, and it may be even more limited for cats. If this is the case, consider switching things up. For dogs it can be as simple as finding a different park to visit every now and then, walking on different streets, or bringing him along on a trip to the pet supply store. You may even want to consider doggy daycare one day a week, or for the adventurous, dog sports like agility. For cats, new toys or a new brushing routine can spice up their day.
Your pets should resolve to take their monthly heartworm, parasite, flea and tick preventative as prescribed, and keep their vaccinations up to date.
Have more fun
Whether it’s more games, new toys more often, weekly brushing, or more movies on the couch together, we can ALL use a little more fun!