With 2020 officially behind us, many of us have taken the opportunity to set goals for the months ahead. Perhaps you want to eat better, lose a couple of those holiday pounds, or finally achieve some long-held goal this year. Of course, the most common New Year’s resolutions are no surprise. Indeed, the old standbys are just that: lose weight, save more, and get organized.
Naturally, the new year is the perfect time for setting goals and starting afresh. And while many of us are heading into 2021 with a healthy combination of trepidation and optimism, there’s still much for which we can be hopeful.
A new year brings 365 days of opportunity for you and your pet to create wonderful memories, develop healthier habits, and discover new ways to live a full and happy life.
This year, we encourage you to consider your pets when laying out your New Year’s resolutions. After all, don’t we all want to see our loved ones happy, healthy, and thriving? And that includes our furry family members. Since our pets can’t make resolutions on their own, it’s our job to ensure that they’re living their best lives.
Commit to Healthier Eating
The New Year is the perfect time to evaluate what, when, and how much your pet is eating. Many pet owners don’t gauge their pet’s daily food intake, which can result in overfeeding and weight gain. The rise in pet obesity, diabetes, and dermatological issues with pets can primarily be attributed to feeding habits—including overfeeding and providing high-calorie treats such as table snacks (it’s also important to be aware of the dangers of human foods for our pets). If you’ve been noticing your pet seems extra “fluffy” lately, now might be the time to make a weight loss plan.
We suggest measuring out meals to ensure that your pet is receiving the proper amount of food at every meal. There are many online resources that can provide general guidance, but it’s best to talk to your vet, as they can advise you on the appropriate portions for your pet based on breed, age, and activity level.
Speaking of personalized diet modifications, this is also a great time to ensure that your pet is eating the proper diet for their age, activity level, health needs, and nutritional requirements. Choosing a diet specifically tailored to your pet’s life stage is a great way to keep them in optimal health.
Commit to a Healthier Lifestyle
If you’re resolving to get in shape this year, consider buddying up with your furry companion and creating a healthier lifestyle for both of you. Even small changes can improve your pet’s day-to-day life. For instance, daily walks are not only great for your pooch, but they offer numerous benefits for your personal health.
It’s no surprise that people who walk their dogs daily are more likely to get the recommended amount of physical activity than those who don’t. One study found that pet owners who walk their dogs got up to 30 minutes more exercise a day than non-walkers. Dog ownership has also been shown to decrease your risk of heart disease. Studies suggest that dog owners experienced a 24% reduced risk of all-cause mortality and are 65% less likely to die after a heart attack.
Daily walks provide exercise as well as enrichment opportunities for your pet by allowing them to experience new environments and the chance to get out of the house. Daily walks are also a great way to bond with your dog, and it’s a nice bonus that walking is healthy for us humans, too. Just be sure to consider your pet’s health needs during the winter months. Taking your dog for regular walks and playing with laser toys with your cat or providing other enrichment activities (adventure cat, anyone?) improves not only their physical but mental health as well.
If you’re a new pet owner or new to daily walking, be sure to check out our guide to dog walking safety.
Commit to More Playtime
Our pets provide us with a unique learning experience—with so much going on around us, it isn’t easy to stay present in the moment. But pets do not worry about the past, or stress about the future. They truly just enjoy the moment they’re in, which is a little life lesson we could all use.
And if there’s anything that 2020 taught us, it’s that we need to slow down and appreciate the people and things in our lives that are most important to us. Plato said, “Life must be lived as play.” Creating the time to enjoy the things we love is an important part of our humanity that often goes overlooked. And what better way to incorporate play time than including your pet!
Pets may act out if their energy is not properly utilized, including displaying unwanted behavior such as damaging things around your home out of boredom. Everyone knows that most dogs enjoy a good game of fetch or tug-o-war, but few pet parents understand how important play is for our cats. Regular daily play sessions decrease demanding behavior and promote positive feelings between cats in multi-cat homes.
Activities such as puzzle toys increase your pet’s mental stimulation and daily life enrichment. Simply switching up your meal delivery by using a puzzle feeder is an easy way to improve your pet’s mental stimulation, which will encourage good behavior. Plus, many forms of play mimic the natural activities your pet would display in the wild. Socializing and faux hunting activities such as using toys as “prey” for your cats to hunt are a couple of things that can significantly improve the happiness and quality of your pet’s life.
As always, we have a lot to learn from our furry family members if we only look.
From joyous, tail wagging abandonment when greeting us at the door to snuggling next to us when we pull up the covers at night—if our pets teach us one thing in life, it’s how to love unconditionally. They love their humans to the fullest and find joy in the simplest things.
Have you ever noticed how happy your dog seems when running to the door because he knows it’s walk time? Or the unadulterated joy that abounds the second he gets in the car and you roll down the windows on a warm spring day, jutting his face out of the car window to sniff the air …
What was the last thing you did that made you so happy that you danced with joy at the very idea of doing it again?
In this new year, we hope you find joy in every morsel of your beautiful life. Make memories with the ones you love. Take chances. Experience new things. Read more books. Eat good food. Take more photos and make good art. And for every photo you take of someone else, remember to take one of yourself too. Drinking your coffee. Reading a book. Learning a new skill. Snuggling your pet. And, when you’re living your regular old life on those regular old days, we hope you look back and remember how much joy there is yet to be had.