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New Year's Resolutions for Pets

Happy new year - really??
faith goble [Flickr]
Happy new year - really??

Our pets may not enjoy celebrating the new year as much as we might, what with all the loud fireworks and other noise, but it's a good time to think about ways we can make life better for our best friend with a few resolutions that can benefit both them and us!


The end of one year and the beginning of another causes a lot of us to reflect on how we have fared in the past and what we might want to do differently in the future. That’s the idea behind New Year’s resolutions, targeting specific things we want to do or change that we hope will make life better.

Here are a few suggestions for some New Year’s resolutions concerning your pet.

Let’s begin with exercise. After the holidays, most of us sure could benefit from more activity. The same probably goes for our pets. Taking your dog for a walk or throwing a ball or Frisbee will help your pet stay healthy. Playing with your cat will give it some physical and mental stimulation. Plus, spending time with your furry friend will help the two of you bond more than if you were sitting at home on the couch.

Resolve to make sure your pet is eating healthy food. It doesn’t have to be the most expensive, but it should be labeled as “complete and balanced”. Avoid feeding human leftovers to your best friend. High fat, high salt people-food isn’t all that good for us, and it can be very harmful to dogs and cats.

Since we’re talking about healthy animals, schedule an appointment to take your pet to the veterinarian for its annual checkup. Finding a problem early makes it more likely to be treatable and maybe less expensive. While you’re there, ask your vet about pet health insurance which also may help keep the cost down.

One of the best things you can do for your pet is to have it microchipped. Collars with tags are great, but they can come off (or be removed). Lost animals have been reunited with their owners from hundreds of miles away all because of a tiny microchip.

The most important thing you can do for all pets is to have yours spayed or neutered to guarantee it will not add to the pet overpopulation problem. The second most important thing? Make a donation to your local animal shelter or animal welfare group. You will be helping countless animals in need, and maybe get a tax deduction for you!

What a great way to start the new year, making resolutions so that everyone wins, when you’re speaking of pets!


Mindy Norton has been “Speaking of Pets” on Alabama Public Radio since 1995.
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