In just a few days, it will be the beginning of a new year. Because 2020 was quite the roller coaster ride, now is the perfect time to make some resolutions for 2021.
New Years Resolutions for Your Pet
If your resolutions (like many of us) include getting more exercise, learning something new, or improving your diet, why not incorporate your canine companion in those goals? Make 2021 your best year ever with renewed hope, better habits, and more ways for you and your furry friend to bond.
Show your gratitude for making it through 2020 and create a plan to have a happy and healthy 2021 with your pet. Below are ten suggestions for you both.
10 New Years Resolutions for Your Canine
- Resolve to take your dog on at least one walk every day. Because exercise is essential for both of you, this is the ideal way to get fit and enjoy the outdoors together. If you already take a daily walk, try taking a long walk a few times a week. It may be difficult due to cold weather and dark evenings, so bring a flashlight, bundle up, and get going.
Be sure to add a sweater or booties to your furry friend to keep them warm and protect their feet from ice and salt on the sidewalk. Leave your cell phone in your pocket while you walk so you can focus on your dog and the activity around you. It’s the perfect way to bond and enjoy spending time together.
2. Spend one-on-one time with your canine. Even if you’re just playing catch, cuddling, wrestling, or watching TV together, it’s important to focus on your pet to bond. Please get a new toy once in a while and play with it with your pet. Look at their face and play for five or ten minutes a day. It’ll make a huge difference in their behavior.
You can also consider joining a class with your dog. Have fun with an obedience class, agility training, swimming (depending on the breed), Frisbee catching, etc. Check with your veterinarian or local Recreation Center for class schedules.
3. Make some new friends. After the isolation and quarantining in 2020, now is a great time to get out and meet other dogs and a few people (socially distancing, of course). Call a friend who also has a dog and schedule a play date, go to a dog park, or find a dog walking group to join. Older dogs benefit from playing with other canines, and socialization training is a must for puppies. Physical exercise and brain stimulation are important for all breeds and ages of dogs. Enroll in a doggy daycare program or dog training classes. Tiring them out once in a while is good for them, too!
4. Get out of town. If one of your New Year’s resolutions involves hiking, camping, or traveling, don’t forget to take along your dog. New Years resolutions for pets can be fun and entertaining for both you and your dog. You can look for pet-friendly hotels and Airbnb’s before you head out the door. Your furry friends are happy when they can join you for a road trip, but always secure them with a seat belt for their safety. However, talk to your vet first if your dog gets car sick; you may be able to get a prescription to help with that. Going new places with your pooch a few times a year is just as fun for them as it is for you. If you can’t go far, even visiting a novel pet store or discovering a different dog park can provide you both with an enjoyable experience.
5. Teach your four-legged friend a new trick. Ignore the old saying because teaching an old dog something new is certainly possible. It’s also fun for both of you! Whatever the skill level of your dog, keep their brain active by teaching them new things. First, try the basics such as “sit” and “stay.” Once those have been mastered, fun tricks like “lay down,” “shake,” and “speak” can be attempted.
There are also a variety of dog training classes you can attend with your canine. They will learn practical skills such as waiting at the door, walking easily via a leash, etc. These are very important for your fur baby to have. Agility classes for tracking, catching balls and Frisbees, herding, and other skills are common, too. Or teach your dog a fun game to play together: tug-of-war, fetch, hide and seek, chase, etc., are all good options. Be sure to find a class, game, or trick that works your dog’s age, size, and abilities because not everything will match.
6. Improve your nutrition. When it comes to New Years Resolutions for pets, both you and your canine friend may need to make changes in your diet, and even a few small steps can make a big difference. Add more fresh vegetables to BOTH of your diets. Measure the amount of food for each meal so there is less chance to overeat. Purchase higher quality food and have fewer treats. Talk to your vet for ways to change your furry companion’s diet. If you eat better, so should your dog.
7. Schedule an annual check-up. Just like you, your pet needs an annual physical. Having a busy schedule often means it gets forgotten. Resolve to call your vet as soon as possible and make an appointment. Start the new year, knowing that your pooch is healthy because catching a problem early can make a difference in both your lives. Check to be sure their vaccinations are up to date, too. Making the appointment at the same time every year will get you in the habit of calling.
8. Take care of your pooch’s teeth. Since you’re already setting up an appointment for your pet, ask the vet to check their teeth, too. If you don’t already, learn how to brush your furry friend’s teeth and do it every day. Good dental care will keep your dog healthy, help to avoid issues like heart disease, and your dog’s breath will smell nicer too!
9. Give back to the animal community. There are dozens of ways to help animals. Volunteer at an animal shelter, ask to walk an elderly neighbor’s dog, become a dog foster parent, donate money to an organization that rehabilitates injured animals, etc. Consider donating some of your pet’s toys, a bed, some packs of food, or even bath towels.
10. This year, make a plan in case of an emergency – whether it’s yours or your pets. Give yourself some peace of mind and set aside a little money each month to pay for a potential medical emergency for your dog. Or invest in pet insurance. Additionally, talk to a friend or family member who agrees to provide for your pet. That person will become their guardian if your health declines and you are no longer able to care for them.
These are just a few suggestions that will make 2021 better for both you and your loveable pet. Do you have other ideas for resolutions? Let us know in the comments below!