New Year's Resolutions For Your Pet
By Dr. Lindsay Lane, Managing Veterinarian
It’s that time of year again folks! We all try to make those new year’s resolutions; all good intentions yet sometimes failed. I try to remind myself to be realistic and set myself up for success! Why shouldn’t we offer the same for our little furkids? Of course, I can’t just outright ask my dog what his desires for a new and improved Linus would be – Lord knows that would be an interesting conversation if I could! But maybe I can pick a few things that I know he would not only enjoy but benefit from as well. And I’m not talking buying him a new toy every week 😉 . Here is a few ideas I will implement for my dogs and few you can maybe offer for your cats as well!
- Weight loss! Of course weight loss is going to be on this list. It’s probably the top of everyone’s list! We don’t recommend weight loss to be mean or rude about your pet’s weight, we do it because obesity is also very bad for your dogs and cats! It can lead to obesity, pancreatitis, orthopedic disease or complicate heart disease or respiratory disease.
- Go on more walks or have regular scheduled play time. This sort of goes along with our weight loss goals, but environmental enrichment is a huge part of our pets’ wellbeing and quality of life. Even if you have a yard, walking your dog not only helps to expose them to other elements, allowing and teaching good socialization skills, but it can help lessen anxiety when they are in newer situations. Having scheduled play times gets you involved with teaching your pet not only how to communicate with body language and learning tricks, but it is excellent socializing and exercise and not to mention fun! And yes, you can involve your cats too! I used to take my cat’s food and flick pieces of the dry food across the floor and watch her “hunt”, chase and catch her food rather than just throwing it in a bowl and walking away. A great game of fetch or practicing recall with your dogs is an excellent training tool and exercise.
- Set up play dates! This can be another time to allow your dog to get social. Even in our current social distancing times, we can get together with close friends, still social distance ourselves, but allow a small group to have controlled play. It is a great time for them to learn how to communicate with other dogs (especially for those rowdy youngsters and teenager puppies) and be safe at the same time.
- Learn a new trick! This is always fun and rewarding for you and your pets! Learn a simple sit, stay, paw/shake (yes, cats too!) or go a little crazy and make a homemade agility course out of PVC pipes! It’s 2021! Go wild 😊
New year’s resolutions mean a lot of different things to different people, and our pets are no different. We strive to be better and do better, and we can incorporate our pets into these plans as well. We wish you all a more hopeful, safe and healthy new year! It can only get better from here, right?!