Seasonal Care

New Year's Resolutions For You and Your Pet

New Year's Dog

New Year's Resolutions should include your pets too

A new year brings new goals, renewed hope and 365 days of opportunity for you and your pet to bond, develop healthier habits and discover new ways to live a full life. Your pet can live a better tomorrow with your help. Whether you know it or not, you are already on a really healthy path, just by having a pet in your home1! Did you know that just having a pet in your home reduces your stress and greatly improves the quality of your mental and physical well-being? Show your gratitude and resolve to make some positive changes in your life, and your pets' lives. In order to execute these resolutions though, there needs to be detailed goals and an easy plan to follow every day.

What are some New Years Resolutions?

Cat sitting

First, what are the resolutions that you want for yourself? What makes you happy? What are some healthy lifestyle changes you have wanted to make? Now, incorporate your pet into these ideas. Here are a few ideas:

  • Resolve to take your pet for a longer walk at least 3 times a week
  • Resolve to eat healthier, and have your pet eat healthier too! Consult your veterinarian for dietary advice.
  • Resolve to bond outside the home, whether during your walk, go to a dog park, or a dog and me 5k
  • Resolve to spend some one-on-one time with your dog or cat, even if just at home watching some TV and cuddling or playing catch
  • Resolve to get at least one new toy and play with your pet, even just 5 minutes a day
  • Resolve to do frequent wellness checks, one for you and one for your pet
  • Resolve to do some community service: take a shelter dog for a walk, donate one of your pet's beds, towels, or a new pack of food
  • Resolve to join a class with your pet: agility, lure coursing, swimming, Frisbee, obedience, Canine Good Citizens, Search and Rescue, canine therapy, socialization, etc
  • Resolve to start a saving's account for you and for your pet in case of emergency

If none of this appeals to you, modify it to your liking. Do you already walk your dog every day? Then resolve to take a new route. Find a dog-friendly hike or off-leash park. Do you feel that your cat already eats a premium diet? Then resolve to measure out the food and make sure they are eating a healthy amount. Do you already have wellness checks scheduled? Then resolve to make sure they are protected against heartworms, fleas and ticks every month of the year. Find a resolution that peaks your interest, and gets you motivated.

Create a plan

You are almost done. You have your pet. You have made the decision to make some positive changes in the new year. You even have some great ideas now for amazing resolutions. It is important to create a plan that you can stick to. Maybe even find a friend to check-in with and make sure you are reaching your goals with your pets. Perhaps you can start a calendar and write down the days to complete your goals. Most importantly, get excited! This is your year to get healthy and bond with your pet. Take what you want from it!

April Castaneda has worked in veterinary hospitals in New Jersey, Florida and New Zealand for 10 years and has a Master's degree in Animal Science. She is passionate about living a healthy lifestyle and is a certified group exercise instructor teaching yoga, pilates, cardio, strength training and mommy and me classes. She cares for two rescued cats (Chuck Norris and Nunchucks) and a rescued mixed breed dog.

1- Shatzman, Celia. "12 Ways Pets Improve Your Health." Health.com.

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