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8 Pet-Positive New Year's Resolutions

Monday December 19th 2016

We all like to start the New Year¬ with plans to live a healthier and happier life. And there’s no reason these good intentions shouldn’t extend to your furry family members. Here are 8 pet-friendly resolutions you should be making for 2017…

1. Start a pet journal

We all lose track of appointments now and again. Keep on top of all your pet’s vital information: medical visits, playtimes, weights – anything you may need to refer to in order to keep them happy and healthy.

You can also get smartphone apps that store this information and message you with reminders of appointments and key dates – you’ll never fall behind on your animal’s check-ups.

2. Take control of your pet’s weight

Your pet’s health should be one of your main priorities, and weight is a key indicator that everything is running smoothly. Being overweight could be a tell-tale sign that your pooch has a thyroid problem, while an underweight cat or rabbit could be suffering from stress or disease.

It’s important that you keep your animal’s weight under control by making sure they are eating just enough for their species/breed/age.

Weigh your pet regularly, and measure their food to ensure you’re not over or under-feeding them. You should also keep up to date with the types of food your four-legged friend can eat or should avoid.

If you reward your pet for good behaviour, try to find a way to treat them that doesn’t involve food – like a new toy or a ride out in the car.

3. Start a pet savings fund

As animals get older, their needs change. Sometimes the cost of caring for them increases and sometimes they need more specialist food or toys to keep their mind and body active.
Putting a little away each month will give you peace of mind, relieving some of the stress associated with receiving a sudden vet’s bill.

4. Have a toy rotation schedule

Pets can become complacent with the same old toys, day in, day out. Variety is a sure fire way to keep them interested and prevent boredom.
Plan to rotate your toys at least every couple of weeks and store the old ones away for another day.
The feeling of something new will prompt intrigue in your cat and it’s cheaper than buying new toys.

5. Try new things

Like humans, pets can get bored very easily ¬- particularly if they don’t have activities, toys and one-on-one time to keep them stimulated.
Keep things interesting by trying out new activities and games with your furry family member. Why not take your dog swimming? Or take your indoor cat outside for a walk on a lead. Set up obstacle courses made from cardboard boxes, tubes and discarded carpets or shelves.

6. Schedule more one-on-one time

It’s easy to become distracted by the day-to-day activities of normal life. Work gets busy, and you can often be too tired to play or go for a walk when you get home.

Pets are a long-term commitment and need some level of interaction every day to keep boredom at bay and their minds active.

It’s also a fun way to bond with your animal and a chance to enjoy the affection your furry friend has to offer you.

Schedule some time every day to play for five minutes. Throw a ball in the garden or get them to chase you around the living room. If you have more time, then increase the number of minutes, or make playtime more frequent.

Try and make time to brush or groom your pet, or make room in your schedule just to have a cuddle.

Whatever you do with your one-on-one time, give your pet your undivided attention and see the difference it makes in their wellbeing.

7. Teach your pet a new trick

Dogs, cats and rabbits are incredibly intelligent and can pick up new tricks easily, particularly if there’s a reward on offer.

Cats and rabbits are not often taught new tricks but can learn how to fetch or sit, exactly the same way as dogs. Though the basics don’t change, it could take a little longer. But wouldn’t life be a lot easier if your rabbit knew how to use the litter tray or your cat could use the toilet (that’s right!).

8. Schedule regular visits to the vets

Use your journal to keep track of when your fluffy pet has last seen the vet. It’s important to have a check-up at least once a year, but make sure you are keeping on top of worming, fleas and booster injections by visiting the vet as and when is needed.

Your vet is trained to interpret symptoms, so just calling in once every six months gives them the opportunity to note any changes and pick up if anything is wrong.