New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Pet

dark gray cat with colorful streamers

Put your best “paw” forward and start the new year off right! From getting more exercise and stimulating your pet’s mind to adopting and volunteering, these 10 resolutions will give you and your pet a great start to the new year.

  • 1

    Exercise regularly and have more fun. This one is a no-brainer! Not only does exercise keep your pet at a healthy weight, but it gives you both time to bond. Go for a walk or play fetch — or think outside the box and try “doga” (yoga for you and your dog). And don’t forget to have fun! Make a date with a friend and her pet so your furballs can play together. Or unleash your inner child by blowing bubbles that your pet can chase around the yard. Bonus: Pet-friendly bubbles come in different scents like peanut butter and catnip!

  • 2

    Try something new. Physical and mental stimulation keep pets healthy and their minds sharp. Try a new activity, experience a change in scenery, or give your pet a challenging treat puzzle (check out the first item on this list) to keep things fresh and exciting.

  • 3

    Start a pet fund. Put away a little money each month for your furry pal. Whether you end up using it for an unexpected pet expense or a cute new toy, you’ll be glad you stashed some cash!

  • 4

    Schedule a wellness exam. Annual exams are the key to keeping your pet happy and healthy. They’re critical for detecting and treating preventable diseases, as well as uncovering early signs of more serious issues. This year, resolve to schedule regular wellness exams for your dog or cat to keep her in tiptop shape.

  • 5

    Brush regularly. Lack of good oral hygiene can lead to periodontal disease and other illnesses, so it’s important to keep your pet’s teeth and gums healthy. Check with your veterinarian about how often they recommend dental cleanings and exams for your pet. And while you’re there, be sure to ask how often you should brush your pet’s teeth and if you should give your pet dental chews.

  • 6

    Adopt. What’s better than one pet? Two pets! Spread the love and add another dog or cat to your home. Not only does this give a home to an animal in need, but according to the APPA National Pet Owners Survey, 52% of pet owners say pets are happier with another pet at home.

  • 7

    Maintain a healthy weight. One of the biggest resolutions humans make every year is to lose weight, so take a moment to evaluate your pet’s weight. Talk to your veterinarian to find out if your pet is at a healthy weight. If she’s underweight or overweight, your vet can provide a treatment plan.

  • 8

    Start spring cleaning a little early. Get rid of those old, chewed-up toys and replace food bowls that have seen better days. If you want to part with any gently used items, consider donating them to a local animal shelter.

  • 9

    Check the chip. Ring in the new year by double-checking your pet’s microchip information. Moving or getting a new phone number mean it’s time to update the contact info associated with your pet’s microchip. Also be sure to check the ID tag info on your pet’s collar.

  • 10

    Do some good. Bring comfort and joy to those in need! Inquire at your local animal shelter about fostering a pet. It’s a great way to provide loving, temporary care to a dog or cat while she waits for her forever home. If you’re interested in volunteering your pet for therapy purposes, check with local hospitals and assisted living facilities to see if they have animal therapy programs. You can also team up with Pet Partners, which offers pet therapy courses and provides tools to find volunteer opportunities in your area. Another option is to check local libraries to see if they host a “read to a dog” program in which young children can work on their reading skills by reading to a furry friend.