January is a time for new beginnings. The holidays are over, you’re back to your routine, and you’re probably feeling the urge to make healthy choices after indulging in one too many treats over the past few weeks. Your New Year’s resolution may be to become healthier – but what about your pet? Have you thought about New Year’s resolutions for them? Making small changes to improve your pet’s health can help them live a long and happy life.
New Year’s resolutions for your pet (and you!)
- Give your pet proper exercise. Most dogs need at least 30 minutes of exercise each day — and putting your dog outside in the backyard doesn’t count! Exercise helps your dog’s health and it helps yours too, so get out for a walk or head over to a park and throw a ball around. Spending time outside and getting active is great for your pet’s physical and mental health — and yours, too. Cats need their fair share of exercise too. Laser pointers are a great way to get your cat moving, or if they’re more food motivated, try a puzzle treat ball.
- Pay attention to what’s in your pet’s food and treats. You don’t need to count calories for your dog or cat (unless they’re overweight) but it’s a good idea to know what’s in the food you’re giving and how many calories they need a day. If you’re using treats for training or rewards, take out a specific amount for the day so you’re aware of how much they’re getting. You can also try breaking them into smaller pieces. Your vet can make recommendations based on their age, breed, and activity level.
- Measure your pet’s food. Knowing the basic nutrition information of your pet’s food is one thing, but it’s not going to make a difference unless you know how much they’re eating each day. Use a measuring cup or a food scale to make sure they’re getting the proper portions. Again, ask your vet to help guide you.
Some tips to avoid abandoning your resolutions
- Set specific milestones. If you’re working towards getting your pet into a healthy weight range, talk to your vet about an ideal weight loss rate. Then, set several smaller goals with appropriate dates for those targets and work towards them, one step at a time.
- Share your resolutions with family and friends. Keep yourself and your pet accountable by talking about your health goals. You never know — they may have some similar goals you can work towards together!
- Reward yourself or your pet when you accomplish a goal. Whether it’s a new collar or a special toy, don’t forget to celebrate when you reach your goals!