Losing weight, eating healthier, saving more money, getting more organized – these are just a few of the most common New Year’s Resolutions many of us make for ourselves each year. But how many of us thought about making resolutions that include our canine and feline counterparts? I’m going to be honest with you – I’d never given it much thought, either! But how great would it be if we could make 2019 the best year yet for our pets, too? Even though 2019 is here, it is not too late to make some new goals for our pets to take us throughout the New Year; not only will it help us feel better about providing the best possible lives for them, but it may help us reach closer to our own personal goals, too! Staying more active with your pets, encouraging more cognitive stimulation, incorporating more playtime, and many other fun, achievable goals for your pets will help lead you and your pets to a healthier, happier New Year!
Here are some New Year’s Resolution ideas to get you and your pets started.
1. Get your pets in their healthiest shape, ever! Sound familiar? What is likely most people’s #1 New Year’s Resolution year after year is, of course, bound to be on this list! And you guessed it – it’s a big one with many details to consider. And even though we’re talking about our pets here, while you’re busy keeping your pet active and working towards ultimate health, you will probably find yourself getting your own health back on track without even realizing it. When thinking about your pet’s health, consider his diet, exercise, and physical activity and consider ways you can improve each of them throughout the year.
When it comes to your pet’s diet, consider any extra weight he has put on this past year. Are you measuring your pet’s food into his bowl, or could you be over-feeding? A good rule of thumb is to follow the guidelines on the pet food bag, however you should also follow the recommendations from your pet’s veterinarian for how much food your pet should be getting each day. Use a measuring cup instead of “eyeballing” how much you feed them. Also, remember to keep in mind the kind of food you’re feeding your pet. Senior pets as well as puppies and kittens are going to have much different caloric and nutritional intake needs than the average middle-aged pet. While keeping diet in mind, it’s important to also be sure you’re getting your pet the optimal amount of exercise he needs.
When it comes to exercise and physical activity for your pet, think about how your past year has been. Have you been slacking on taking your dog out on a walk? Has your pet become tired of the same old routines? Does he play with the same two favorite toys every day? Is your day-to-day routine just getting old? It doesn’t have to be this way! Encourage variety in your pet’s life by offering walks down different paths, buying a few new toys or balls your pet will love to chase after, or even simply asking someone else to come by and help offer your pet additional physical activity and interaction.
While there are many ways to encourage your pet to get more physical activity, we understand how busy life can get! If you need help getting your dog out on regular walks and doing other fun, physical activities while you’re away at work or fulfilling other important obligations, please reach out today! Our dedicated and professional staff are passionate about animals and can be there to provide physical activity and cognitive stimulation to your pet when you can’t be there.
Additionally, if you need more ideas of how to keep your dog active during the colder, winter months, check out one of our other recent blogs Cognitive Enrichment and Physical Activities for Dogs in Winter.
The same goes for your cats or other beloved pets in your home who need physical activity. If you find that your cat lies around all day napping while you’re gone, doesn’t get any encouragement from others to play, or has really packed on a few too many pounds for the winter, it may be time to make a change. While some may assume our services are geared towards dogs, we have many feline friends (among others!) that we continually look forward to caring for and seeing each week! If your feline needs some extra encouragement to play, chase toys and get physically active even within your home, please let us know. We can pet-sit in the comfort of you and your cat’s home while giving you peace of mind knowing they’re getting the exercise, attention and activity they need for a longer, healthier life.
Now that we’ve gotten that big one out of the way, we can think about some other fun, creative resolutions we can make for our pets that we as their owners can also continue to be involved in!
2. Make more time for play! Yes, that’s right! Staying on track in 2019 doesn’t have to be boring! Not only will more playtime lead to more physical activity and strength, it will also likely lead to a stronger bond between you and your beloved pet! And okay, sure… I suppose this counts as physical activity in our #1 New Year’s Resolution for your pets, but this makes it fun for everyone to achieve those goals!
If you have cats, try keeping things interesting and new for them! My cats personally just love laser pointers. They can’t seem to figure out just how they work, but that sure keeps them on their toes as they run, pounce and leap towards the light in an attempt to “catch” it! While it’s entertaining for our entire family to watch, it’s also keeping our cats physically active while having fun! We love buying new toys for them, too, so they don’t get too tired of the same old toys laying around. Toys with catnip and those that make crinkly, crunchy sounds also really get their attention! Or, you could just forget buying them new toys altogether and see what you have around the house that may excite them. Empty cardboard boxes can become fun tunnels, and a simple ping pong ball or crinkled up piece of paper can leave them with something to chase for what seems like hours. See what your cats love and respond to and go with it! (Of course, be sure to monitor your pets with anything that has small pieces or things that can break or tear apart in their mouths). Safety is always the #1 priority when caring for pets.
While dogs might not be as impressed with a cardboard box as your feline pals, many dogs will appreciate any extra love and attention you give them while you encourage more playtime. Spending more time playing with the toys they have, buying a new toy for them on a regular basis, or finding new games to play can keep your pet intrigued and enjoying life at home! While playing, you can include teaching your dog new games, or tricks, too! We’ve mentioned puzzle toys in previous blog posts, and these toys can keep your dog mentally stimulated as they try to solve these “puzzles,” often with the reward of a treat inside.
3. Try new activities together. Have you been wanting to do more hiking or other activities that might be pet-friendly? There are many outdoor sports including hiking or snow shoeing that your pet may be able to join you on! Just be sure you are confident in your dog’s behaviors before bringing him along. Even though snow may be falling (soon) that shouldn’t stop you from finding ways to be adventurous outdoors with your pup! And when it does become too cold or there is too much snow on the ground, there are plenty of indoor activities you can do together with your pets to continue to bond and appreciate your time spent together. And please check out our previous blog about Cognitive Enrichment and Physical Activities for Dogs in Winter (for additional ideas for dogs, specifically). Not only will your pets love their time with you, but they’ll be boosting their mental well-being as they learn new skills from their time spent with you!
4. Send updates to those you haven’t seen in a while. Do you ever get Christmas cards with a nice, lengthy update from your family or friends letting you know about all the fun events that happened to them over the past year? Well, we can imagine most people who have had some impact along your pet’s life journey would just love to hear how your beloved pets are doing, too! It’s amazing just how much of an impact an animal can have on another’s life, and you may not even know it. Consider reaching out to the rescue group or shelter where you got your pet (even if it was years ago!) and give them an update on how you and your pet are doing! You may be surprised at just how many people will remember your pet’s sweet face and will be so elated to see him enjoying his forever home with his human family.
5. Take a trip together! Life is about creating memories, right? At our house, a picture is worth a thousand words, and we love looking back at memories we have created throughout the years. This includes our pets, too! Try creating some fun, lasting memories with your pet by going somewhere new. Road trips aren’t just for people, after all. Pack up your dog and hit the road for a new destination! Maybe you have a friend or some family who live a few hours away that would appreciate the company. (Of course, be sure you have a place to stay first that is pet-friendly and safe). While your dog may not want to hang his head out the window this time of year, you can be pretty certain he will love getting away and visiting your own beloved family and friends for a fun, spontaneous get-away. And be sure to take pictures to look back on years from now!
6. Be more present in your pet’s life. Phones, TVs, and electronics in general are everywhere! If you find yourself staring at a screen longer than you think you should be, you should probably take that as a sign. You could likely use the distraction of spending time with those around you – including your beloved pets, just as much as your pets need you! We all know life is all too short, and our time spent with those we love is often fleeting, whether we realize it at the time or not. Our pets are always there for us when we walk in the door, when we are having a bad day, or when we just simply need someone to be there. Why not do the same for them? Give your pets all the love and attention they deserve. Make them a priority this year, and spoil them with hugs, love, and all the attention you can give. I can guarantee you won’t regret it.
7. Update your pet’s ID tag and microchip. Don’t forget the basics! Our pet’s collars and tags get old and worn after time, and if you’ve moved or gotten a new phone in the past year, you will want to be sure your pet’s ID tag is still legible and has all correct information. If your pet has a microchip, that also needs to be updated. Don’t risk your pet’s safety – take care of these important tasks today.
8. Start a pet fund. We hope you and your pets are all happy and healthy as you start off the new year, but as you know, it’s always smart to save for a rainy day. As our pets get older, they’re more likely to need additional preventative care among other expenses. If you worry about how you would afford the costs associated with a pet getting sick, ill or in need of surgery, for example, it may be a good idea to start a fund to be prepared. This way, you won’t have to compromise your pet’s health due to finances.
9. Offer all the love your home has to offer, and adopt a new friend for your pet! Know that feeling you get when you come home to your beloved pet after being gone for a few days on a vacation or work trip? Even if your pet enjoyed his time with his pet-sitter, (which if he’s with Milwaukee Paws Pet Care, you can be guaranteed he’s in good hands!) we also know there is no one better and more special to a pet than his human parents. The reunions shared between me and my pets when I return from a weekend away are enough to melt my heart, and their kisses leave me feeling so thankful to have such sweet animals to come home to. But if you’re feeling that your home has more room for some additional fur-babies, visit your local humane society or pet rescue. There are far too many animals who have spent the recent holidays lonely and without the comfort of a loving, forever home. If you have that to give, the hearts and lives of some homeless animals in our area would be forever grateful!
There you have it – a few of our favorite New Years Resolutions and goals for our pets in the New Year! If you find yourself having trouble meeting your goals for your pets and need help providing extra exercise, attention or care to your own beloved pets when you can’t be there, please reach out today. We look forward to leaving an imprint in the lives of the pets and families we serve and will treat your beloved pets as our own. Happy New Year from our Milwaukee Paws family to yours!