Want to drop a few pounds? Pick up a healthy habit or drop an unhealthy one? Get more organized? These are all common New Year’s resolutions you might hear around the water cooler in January, but what about our four-legged family members? Healthy changes aren’t just for humans- maybe Fluffy or Fido is ready to make a change for the better as well. Read on to find out how to make 2018 the healthiest year yet for you and your furry friends.
Get regular exercise
You knew this one would be on the list, right? This topic tends to be one of the top guilt-inducing subjects among pet owners who aren’t regularly walking or exercising their pets, but 2018 can be the year to make that change. In addition to being a fundamental component for keeping yourself and your pet at a healthy weight, regular physical activity is one of the top recommendations for managing stress and mental well-being.
Getting in a regular brisk walk can alleviate feelings of anxiety, depression and boredom in yourself and in your pet, in addition to curbing destructive behaviors (looking at you there, with the bite mark-riddled shoe). It’s more than just the exercise itself. Taking in the sunshine and fresh air can also do wonders to brighten your mood, boost creativity, and help you problem-solve. We know the weather outside in January and February is not always conducive to walks, but if you have a treadmill in the house that you use, you can train your pet to take walks on them too.
Teach and learn a new skill
Do you love the novelty of learning something new? Your pet does too! Mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise, and nothing boosts confidence like mastering a new skill. Teaching and learning together can be a great way to reinforce your bond.
You can look to local classes for guided assistance no matter what level your pet is at, from basic manners to more advanced skills. Can’t get to a class? There’s a plethora of books, articles, and videos available to you for free through the internet or your local library.
We’re all pack animals. Being in good company is healthy for you and your pet. Make it a priority in 2018 to schedule a few play dates for your furry companion. Not only will playing with another four-legged friend burn energy, it will give them an opportunity to practice important socialization skills, leading to smoother future outings anytime they might need to leave the house with you.
Go for more rides
Do you dream of traveling? Getting out and seeing the world outside of your four walls? Get their tails wagging: make an effort to include your pet in your travel plans for 2018, even if it is just a cruise around town or a quick trip to the park. When you see the joy on their face as they stick their heads out your window, we guarantee you’ll want to make it part of your regular routine.
Snuggle more often
Physical touch between humans and their pets is one of the top ways to create a strong bond. Pets interpret gentle, non-threatening physical touch from their owners as signals of safety, care, and love. You may notice that when your pet is anxious or stressed, a calming caress behind the ear or under their jaw can calm them, but did you know that it can have the same effect on you? According to a study from the University of Missouri- Columbia, petting an animal for 15 minutes or more releases serotonin, prolactin, and oxytocin, and reduces cortisol (the stress hormone). What further reason do you need to schedule a regular cuddle session with your beloved pet?
What will your New Year’s resolutions be? Please feel free to join in the conversation. share your New Year’s resolutions and gain inspiration from others.