Whether you make New Year’s resolutions or share some of the same goals with those who do, there are plenty of ways to involve your pets. Pets can not only inspire and motivate when we’re working towards a goal, they can also participate and benefit along with us. Here are some common resolutions and ways in which we can involve our pets.
Lose Weight or Improve Fitness
Before making changes in diet or fitness routine, it’s best to bring your pet in for a wellness exam. Appropriate diet and exercise depend on factors such as age, current fitness level, presence of disease, and overall health. Pets, like people, need to gradually build tolerance for strenuous exercise. Too much too fast can cause pain or injury. Here are some healthy tips:
- Increase the frequency or length of walks (January is Walk Your Dog Month. Perfect!).
- Make time each day for active play with your pets. Think chase, tag, fetch, tug of war, hunting with wand toys.
- Switch traditional treats with healthier choices. Give dogs carrots, green beans, apple slices, or banana chunks. Cats love catnip and cat grass.
- Talk to your veterinarian about whether a specialty diet food is appropriate for your pet.
- Portion control works for pets as it does for people. Re-evaluate the amount of food you give your pet to ensure it’s appropriate. Use feeding instructions on food packaging as a guide and consult your veterinarian.
The pet industry is a multibillion-dollar market. It can be costly to keep a healthy and happy pet; however, there are ways in which you can create major savings:
- Don’t skip regular wellness exams and vaccinations. These help prevent (or catch early) painful and costly disease and illness.
- Instead of buying your pets’ toys, make them! The internet is rife with ideas and instructions for DIY dog and cat toys using materials found in most homes.
- When tempted to buy a chic outfit or flashy collar or other accessory, keep function over style in the forefront of your mind. Your pet may need a well-fitting harness or a warm sweater, but you can save money by passing on the faux-diamond collar.
- Repair some items instead of replacing. It may be more cost effective to re-wrap a worn scratch pole with sisal rope or sew up a ripped toy rather than replacing them.
- Brush, bathe, and trim pets yourself instead of hiring a groomer.
- Shop around to get the best deal on reliable and trustworthy services such as boarding or sitting. Don’t compromise on care when it comes to your pets, but do investigate which is more within your budget. Or, ask a friend or family member to help.
- Sign up for brand emails or loyalty programs to receive discounts and coupons on your pet supplies.
- Pet proof your home to avoid accidents and injuries.
Become More Organized
All this one takes is a little bit of time and maintenance, and perhaps a nice-looking container:
- Gather and order all medical records, including vaccination logs.
- Create complete and tidy first- aid and disaster-preparedness
- Update microchip registration information.
- Hang or box together harnesses, collars, leashes, waste bags, booties, and any other walking/outing accessories.
Learn a New Skill or Hobby
Several of these can also serve in the “save money” category:
- Learn to sew or craft pet toys, blankets, or clothing.
- Learn to cook or bake healthy treats designed specifically for pets.
- Teach your dog (or cat) a new trick or game.
- Learn how to perform pet CPR or first aid.
Travel/Get out More
Keep in mind current travel restrictions/advisories and shutdowns in all areas.
- Research pet friendly destinations/vacations that appeal to both you and your pet.
- Explore part of your state or city you’ve not previously visited. Check out parks, open spaces, hiking trails, outdoor malls, etc. Research beforehand to ensure pets are welcome.
- Take a different route when walking.
- Take your dog on a camping trip.
- If you have a dog or cat that can’t/won’t walk, consider getting a wagon or pet stroller so you can enjoy outings together.
Lots of small changes can add up to big results. You may have a New Year’s resolution, be working on general life goals, or simply want to do more things with or for your pet. Whatever the case, these tips can set you and your pet on the right path.