New Year’s is almost here, believe it or not! It’s that time of year when we take a look at where we’ve been… and where we want to go.
For pet parents, it’s the perfect moment to think about how we can love our cats and dogs even more, and give them the best possible care.
Here are nine easy, loving, and effective resolutions you can make this year.
1. Brush your pet’s teeth
Dog and cat dental care is one of the most overlooked tasks of raising a pet. For the most part, dry kibble and dental treats can keep your pet’s teeth cleaner and free of plaque build-up, but nothing beats a good old-fashioned brushing. You’ll stave off painful gum disease, and your pet’s breath will even smell fresher.
Learn all about how to brush your dog’s teeth and how to brush your cat’s teeth.
2. Get more exercise together
Is getting more exercise one of your own New Year’s resolutions? Well, why not take your fluffy pal along for the ride? Bring your dog with you on jogs and hikes, or when the weather is bad, play tug-of-war with their favorite toy or try one of these suggestions. Get your cat moving with a new toy, a cat tower that they can climb, or for an indoor cat, see if they enjoy exploring the outdoors with you in a cat harness.
3. Teach your dog or cat a new trick
Though many pet parents don’t realize it, dogs can learn over a hundred words in their lifetimes. Teach your pup a new trick or two, and you’ll stimulate their brain, keeping them happier and less likely to cause trouble out of boredom. And did you know that cats are trainable, too? It can take a little more patience, since cats don't usually have the drive to please the "pack" like dogs do, but you can follow these cat training tips and be off to a great start!
4. Make a veterinarian check-up appointment
If it’s been more than a year since your pet has seen the vet, make an appointment for a check-up visit. Just like you probably rely on your check-up with your doctor to make sure you’d catch any potentially serious illnesses or diseases early, your pet will benefit in the same way. What’s more, a little money spent on a check-up now can prevent spending a lot more money later if a problem is treated early.
Haven't chosen a vet yet? Check out these tips on how to find the right vet.
5. Discover a new favorite toy
Is there anything better than playing with a cat or dog? The wagging tails, the darting eyes, the uninhibited joy… it’s why lots of us became pet parents in the first place. Treat yourself to some giggles by sharing more play time with your pet. Find a new toy that you can cherish together all year, and the next, and the next…..
6. Cut back on the table scraps
We know how adorable and irresistible those begging eyes can be! But lots of human foods are too high in fats and salts to be healthy for pets, especially when they’re already consuming their usual portions of food and a few pet treats. Added pounds can put your pet at risk for health issues, too. So the next time those eyes get going, shower your pet in pets and nuzzles instead. Soon enough, they may just come begging for those.
7. Pet-proof your cleaning and auto supplies
The chemicals you use to kills rodents or bugs or keep your car running are often poisonous to pets. Antifreeze, for instance, is a toxic liquid that tastes sweet to dogs, but can actually kill them if ingested. Use baby-proof latches to close cabinets with dangerous chemicals, and keep pets out of the garage with dog or baby gates, or confine your chemicals to a box or bin that latches tight.
Here are more tips for keeping your pets safe in your home.
8. Keep On Using Heartworm Preventatives
Did you know that heartworm disease kills thousands of dogs every year, but it's totally preventible? Make sure you give your pet -- cats too! -- their monthly dose, and you'll be saving them from the chance of getting a nasty infection of parasites living in their heart (eww)! Indoor cats, too -- as many as 25% of all cats diagnosed with heartworm are indoor cats.
9. Make a disaster plan
We never like to think about these things, but since we all have to buckle down and do it, New Year's is a good time to fit it in among all the other resolutions and planning we're doing. If disaster strikes, we'll be glad we made the time. You probably already have some plan in place for yourself and your family in case of a disaster, so think about how your pet will fit into that plan.
Talk to your neighbors, family, and friends, and find out who might be able to take care of your pet if you have to evacuate your home and can't bring your pet with you. Keep your pet's veterinary records in one place, and make a list of everything your pet will need to make it through three days, so if a natural disaster is headed your way, you can make your pet's "go bag" in a matter of minutes.
Read more on making a disaster preparedness plan for your pets.
Well, we feel more accomplished already! Good luck with your New Year's resolutions, and Happy New Year!
More on Pet Care
The Benefits of a Playful Cat
Easy, Green, Dog-Safe Cleaning Tips
The Top 10 Tips for Training Your Dog
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard or delay seeking professional advice due to what you may have read on our website.