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Start the new year off on the right paw

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Each new year gives us an opportunity to start fresh and to ponder how we may improve various aspects of our lives, including our health, career path, personal growth, and relationships. For pet owners, the goal to show up for our animal companions by regularly assessing their well-being and incorporating new ways to enrich their quality of life is a resolution well worth keeping. Besides, who better to hold us accountable to our wellness goals than the animal friends we hold so dear?

If you have been hoping to step up your animal advocate game, consider these 2023 resolutions that will benefit you, your pets, and other animals in need.

Be more active with your pet by your side. 

As many of us resolve to be a healthier and happier version of ourselves, it’s important to recognize that our pets also thrive when their minds and bodies are active. Start the new year off on the right foot (or paw!) with the ultimate accountability partner. Don’t have a furry friend at home? Adopting a dog, equine, or cat who enjoys walks may be just the motivation you need to get outside and, when possible, move your body. 

When in doubt, always remember, what’s good for them is good for us too. Even a short walk every day will improve overall physical and mental health, help joint function, lower blood pressure, decrease stress and anxiety, and much more. Not to mention, your pet will sleep more soundly after they burn off some of that energy! Further, exercising outdoors with an animal allows us to make deeper connections with our community, neighbors, and the surrounding environment.

Here are a few ways to explore the world with your pet:

  • Take them on a walk. Whether you’re walking around your neighborhood or exploring a new trail, simply walking with a dog has been shown to improve physical health and encourage sociability between humans too!
  • Plan a hike with your pet. Hiking allows both you and your furry friend to experience nature, which can boost your creativity, improve focus, and allow you to relax. You can plan hikes of different distances and difficulty levels to best meet the needs of you and your pet. 
  • Go for a run together. If your active dog has demonstrated good leash walking skills, running outdoors is a great way for you and your pet to burn calories, strengthen muscles, and bond. By setting fitness goals or participating in a pet-friendly race, you can keep track of the satisfying progress you’ve made together since day one. 

Provide for your pet’s enrichment needs.

Providing regular and varied mental stimulation for your pets is a fun, creative way to connect with them. What's more, enrichment is as important to an animal's well-being as wholesome nutrition and high-quality veterinary care.

Access to appropriate outlets to engage in species-typical behaviors, such as chewing, sniffing, and scratching, means that animals are also less likely to perform unwanted (and often destructive) behaviors. Meeting our pet’s mental, emotional, and physical enrichment needs doesn’t have to be challenging or expensive, however - and that’s where your innovation can come in handy!

To get you started, we’ve shared some of our favorite enrichment DIY activities, tips, and tricks for dogs here, and for cats here.

Prioritize time with your pet.

When life gets overwhelming, it can be easy to lose sight of who and what is most important to us, including our animal companions. In the new year, make it a goal to set aside a little more time each day to focus on your pet and remind yourself of the value you bring to each other’s lives. Spending quality time together can come in many different forms, such as taking a quick break from work to play a game of tug-of-war or fetch, snuggling during a movie, engaging in training exercises, or visiting pet-friendly establishments together. 

Establish a routine. 

Being a more reliable pet parent may include creating a better routine for you and your animal friend. By planning bedtimes, meals, and bathroom breaks around the same times each day, you provide your pet with the consistency and safety they so often desire. In order to establish a routine, take the time to organize your pet’s schedule and set reminders like you would for any other task. Not only will your pet feel more secure with the sense of predictability, but you may be surprised by your own improved productivity!

Take preventative measures to ensure your pet’s health and safety.

In addition to scheduling regular check-ups with your veterinarian, vow to have a safer year by making sure your pet’s ID tag and microchip information are up to date. Just contact the microchip registry to verify that your contact information is current in their records. You may also want to reach out to the organization or county where you licensed your pet to make sure they have your updated information. Moreover, always remember to supervise your pets and ensure they’re properly contained, especially if they’re spending time outdoors or off-leash.

Make an impact on the world around you by adopting a homeless pet, volunteering, or donating. 

In addition to boosting your daily steps with your pet, take that step towards being the person your pet thinks you are! There are lots of ways to share the love with animals in need, including adopting, volunteering, or even donating if the time is right for you. Learn more about volunteer opportunities, including becoming a foster parent and activities for youth, here.

By making a difference in our pets’ lives, we make a difference in our own as well. Don’t have a furry friend to hold you accountable to your resolutions? Looking to add a new member to your crew this year? Check out some of our wonderful, adoptable pets here.  

Plus, beginning January 26th and continuing throughout the entire month of February, we’re showing big love to big dogs with 40% off adoption fees for all adult dogs weighing 40 pounds or more. Come meet your New Year Buddy today!