New Year’s Resolutions for Pet Parents

Those Pesky New Year’s Resolutions

Yes, you know what we’re talking about.  The resolve to lose weight, get more organized, exercise more, get on a regular sleep schedule and so on. All those self improvement resolutions.  How’s that been working out for you?  Not so well you say.  Maybe it’s time to incorporate your pets’ needs into your New Year’s resolutions for a new twist. Here are our top 10 New Year’s resolutions for pet parents.

Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for Pet Parents

  1. Walk with your dog every day. Play games with your cat.
  2. Brush your teeth twice a day…..and brush Fido and Fluffy’s’s teeth once a day.
  3. Measure your food…..and measure your pets’ portions too.
  4. Play with your dog and cat every day.
  5. Go to bed at a similar time every night and get up at a similar time every morning.  Your dog will happily serve as your lights out monitor every night and alarm clock every morning.
  6. Keep Spot’s brain active with training a few minutes every day. Keep your own brain active by learning how to positively train your cat and dog.
  7. Practice relaxation habits while brushing your pets’ coats every day.
  8. Disengage from electronics for at least one hour every evening.  That’s a great time to walk with your dog, train your cat or brush their coat or teeth.
  9. A place for everything and everything in its place.  That applies to your “stuff” as well as your pets’ blankets, toys, food bowls and beds. Heck, maybe you can train your dog to put his toys in the toy basket every evening.
  10. Laugh every day at the antics of your pets.

 How These New Year’s Resolutions for Pet Parents Benefit You and Your Pets

If you follow New Year’s resolutions for pet parents,  you and your pets will be more relaxed, healthier and happier.  Exercise benefits all species. Walking your dog (or cat too) provides benefits for physical and mental health, reduces negative behavior and helps with sleep. (http://www.petmd.com/dog/slideshows/general_health/top-ten-health-benefits-walking-your-pet-provides) There is nothing better for bonding with your dog than a daily walk.  You will both release endorphins, get your blood flowing, increase strength, burn calories and enhance your brain power. ( http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389 )

Our general health overall health is affected by our dental health. (http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475 ).  Just as we need to brush our teeth regularly, out pets need good dental care too. (http://www.petmd.com/cat/slideshows/grooming/top-ten-tips-on-how-to-keep-your-cats-teeth-clean)

It does take practice and patience to introduce teeth brushing, but you will be rewarded with a healthier pet.  Never use human toothpaste, instead purchase toothpaste made for cats and dogs. There are substances in human toothpaste that are harmful to pets if swallowed and our pets don’t know to spit out the toothpaste.

dog-toothpaste

cat-toothpaste

When introducing teeth brushing to your pet, start slow.  Put some pet toothpaste on your finger and allow your pet to lick it off.  The next day put some pet toothpaste on a piece of gauze or pet toothbrush and allow your pet to lick the toothpaste.  Continue with this until your pet appears eager to get a taste of toothpaste.  Then you can introduce placing the toothbrush with toothpaste on the outside of your pet’s teeth. Be sure to go at a pace that is comfortable for your pet.

The best exercise is to use our fingers to push back from the table. That’s far easier if we measure our portions and stick to a nutritionally appropriate and balanced diet. The same thing applies to our pets.  It’s up to us to prevent or treat pet obesity because our pets can’t make these decisions on their own. (http://www.ideas4ag-ed.com/uploads/3/7/0/4/3704787/craig_kohn_treating_and_preventing_pet_obesity.pdf)

In our connected, go go go world, relaxation and appreciation of nature become even more important.  Take that break from the television, computer or smart phone and truly engage with your dog or cat.  Taking a walk, brushing your pet, playing an active game of fetch or engaging your cat in mind games indoors will rejuvenate all of you. This is an ideal time to incorporate a few minutes of training into your daily routine with your pets. Just be sure to make it fun and positive.  We especially like clickers for the training activities. (https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/clicker-training-your-pet)

Be sure to laugh every day.  We never tire of watching Luke, Daisy Mae and Trooper’s antics.  We are especially blessed to be able to take care of lots of pets in our pet sitting business and have lots of opportunities for laughter in our daily work.

Luke is obsessed with tennis balls

Luke is obsessed with tennis balls

Jade loves her walks

Jade loves her walks

 

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About Beth Harwell

Beth Leatherman Harwell and her husband, Billy Harwell own and operate a local pet sitting business, Dog Walkers & More at Coddle Creek, LLC. Beth and Billy take care of your dogs, cats, birds, fish and small caged pets in the comfort of your own home. Services are provided in Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius and Mt. Ulla, NC.
Beth is a retired clinical social worker turned business owner. She blogs about pet care needs and the human animal bond.
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