As you look to the year ahead and set new goals, make a commitment to a few resolutions that will benefit both you and your pet!
Go for more walks and explore the outdoors together.
Hikes and walks are great exercise for both you and your pet, and the change in environment can be stimulating for your dog who craves new things to see and smell. Commit to more time outdoors and take steps towards a healthier 2016.
Get tips for hiking and camping with your pet. >
Remember: Beware of rattlesnakes! >
Cut out the table scraps.
Break the habit of giving your pet people food. The sugary, fatty, salty foods that we eat can be detrimental to our pet’s health, even when given in small portions. If those pouty, begging eyes are simply too much to resist, offer a small treat made especially for pets that includes essential nutrients to keep her healthy, instead of sneaking a juicy bite of steak trimmings to your dog or cat under the table at mealtime.
Remember: Chocolate is dangerous to dogs and cats! Learn about chocolate toxicity in pets. >
Update your contact information.
More than 8 million animals end up in shelters every year, and less than 20 percent of dogs and less than 2 percent of cats get reclaimed by their owners. In the unfortunate event your pet gets lost this year, make sure you’ve taken the proper steps to update his tags with your current contact information, and your pet’s microchip with your current phone number, address, and veterinarian’s contact information.
Spay or neuter your pet.
According to the ASPCA, nearly 3 million pets are euthanized each year, due to overcrowding in our nation’s shelters. Take the responsible steps towards spaying or neutering your dog or cat. Remember, the cost of spaying or neutering a pet is less than the cost of raising puppies or kittens for a year!
Keep your pet stimulated and socialized by going on doggy play dates or visiting your local dog park. Bring Fido’s favorite ball to give him some good exercise, and make sure you have plenty of water for each of you on hand. Before you go, make sure your pet is up-to-date on his vaccinations.
Beware: Although dog parks are fun ways to socialize your pet and make new like-minded friends of your own, they do come with risks.
Be aware of dog park etiquette and dangers. >
Help your pet maintain a healthy weight.
Obesity in pets can lead to diabetes, damage to joints, bones, and ligaments, heart disease and increased blood pressure, difficulty breathing, digestive disorders and more.
Avoid overfeeding your pet by just eyeballing your pet’s meal portions. Instead, get into the habit of measuring his food and following the recommended feeding guidelines on the bag or can. Choose an age-appropriate formula for optimum health. For example, if your dog is more than 6 years of age, consider switching to a mature diet that contains the essential vitamins and nutrients to ensure his health well into his senior years.
Make time for play time.
Cats love to play, and need aerobic activity to thrive. Whether you use lasers for your cat to chase, or prefer catnip toys, crinkly balls, and climbable structures, your kitty will appreciate the variety and opportunity to exercise her feline instincts.
Stay up-to-date on health.
Ensure your pet’s health and comfort by staying up-to-date on vaccines and scheduling annual wellness checkups at your family veterinarian.
Find a helpful preventative care checklist here. >
Image credit: FuzzFeed
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