Speaking of Pets: New Year’s Resolutions you can make to help your pets stay happy and healthy | VailDaily.com
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Speaking of Pets: New Year’s Resolutions you can make to help your pets stay happy and healthy

Common New Year's Resolutions -- losing weight, watching less TV, quitting smoking or drinking -- usually don't end up fulfilled come December. But these resolutions you can keep for your pet.
Special to the Daily

The time to start thinking about New Year’s resolutions has come around. How many have you made —or kept — over the years? If you’re anything like I am, most of those good intentions end up in the dustbin of history.

Here are some resolutions you can actually accomplish that involve being a conscientious parent to your companion animals in the new year.

Health

It’s up to you to care for your pet’s health, which means a yearly veterinary checkup — or, if your pet is older, twice a year.

These exams will catch small problems before they become big ones. They’re also an opportunity to discuss with your vet proper vaccinations for your situation and environment.

Watch your pet’s weight and nutrition. Just as with humans, our pets are increasingly suffering from obesity, a potentially life-threatening condition. Feed them the highest quality food you can afford, and avoid those containing controversial chemical preservatives, unidentified meat ingredients, or a high percentage of animal by-products.

Exercise

Regular exercise not only keeps your pet’s weight down, but it can also significantly affect their physical and mental health. Exercise works the joints and tones the muscles, helps the organs function and stimulates the mind.

But exercise doesn’t need to be a chore. Play with your cat with a wand toy or even a paper bag, or go winter snowshoeing or summer swimming with your dog. Think “fun” instead of “exercise.”

Time

This last resolution might be the most important. Take time to spend time with your pet. Take a few minutes to just sit with your pet when you’re not doing anything else. Talk to him/her, pet him/her, give him/her a massage. These kinds of small acts can let your pet know he or she is important to you, and will strengthen the bond between you.

So this new year, whether you’re resolving to work off that extra 5 pounds or find a way to improve your life, why not make a resolution to be a better companion to your furry friend, too?

Who knows, it might just help you get rid of that belly bulge and improve your life at the same time!

Joan Merriam lives in Northern California with her golden retriever, Joey, and Maine coon cat, Indy. She emphasizes that she’s not a veterinarian or animal behaviorist — just an animal lover who’s been writing about pets since 2012. You can reach her at joan@joanmerriam.com.


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