It’s been quite a year, to say the least…Here’s to 2021 being the breath of fresh air we’re all hoping for!
As we look back, we feel tremendous gratitude for all of you, our customers and readers, as well as the unconditional love and companionship of our beloved pets. How comforting it has been to have our pets by our sides this past year. They and you have brought us light during this time of challenging uncertainty and great change.
Besides making clear how wonderful pets are, 2020 has made clear the importance of healthy lifestyle habits and being proactive about your health and the health of your pet. Luckily, our pets want in on whatever we’re doing, and as long as we’re spending time with them, they are happy to “resolve to be healthier.”
That said, here’s some resolution inspiration for the new year.
New Year’s Resolutions for Pets
Extra Exercise & Playtime
Whether this means more long walks with your dog, throwing the ball or some engaging kitty playtime, more physical activity can benefit you both (especially if your kitty or doggy is overweight). Exercise and spontaneous play are also great stress relievers!
Cats, especially, will appreciate the extra play if they don’t have a feline or canine friend to chase around the home. Simply rolling or throwing a toy/ball for 10 minutes 2-3 times per day, will help your cat keep off or shed extra pounds. Move a laser quickly along the wall or on the stairs to watch kitty jump. Dangle the feather toy around the cat tree for an intensive climbing experience. Throw some cat nip into the mix for energy enhancement. Whatever type of play you choose, your cat will appreciate it!
For indoor play with dogs, we suggest playing hide and seek for exercise and mental stimulation. Most dogs enjoy searching the house for bones, freeze-dried treats, and toys. Even better if you can make it a fun obstacle course! Playing hallway fetch or fetch up and down the stairs is another great way to keep dogs fit and healthy.
While COVID restrictions led to many of us skipping on dental cleanings, it’s easy to forget our that our pets’ pearly whites need TLC, too! A little dental care goes a long way in helping to prevent periodontal diseases (and other diseases) in our fur-babies.
If your pet is willing to let you put a toothbrush in their mouth, try brushing their teeth every day or every other day. You can use a regular toothbrush or a finger brush designed for (human) infants. Just don’t use toothpaste intended for humans – instead, use water, coconut oil, or a toothpaste formulated for animals.
Another way to care for your pet’s teeth is to give them bones or antlers. Gnawing on these hard objects helps remove tartar and plaque.
Better Food & Snacks
We all indulge during the holidays, and chances are, we’re sharing those same goodies with our pets. Make sure any table food you’re feeding your furry friend is not only safe, but actually good for them.
Get our guide about about which human foods are safe for dogs and which aren’t.
Training your pet – whether to break a poor behavior or teach them new tricks – can be immensely rewarding for you both. Our technique of choice is positive reinforcement.
To successfully train a dog using positive reinforcement, you must be very consistent. Always reward the desired behavior in the same manner and never reward undesired behaviors. Use verbal praise, petting and – of course – tasty treats!
Another popular and very effective form of positive reinforcement training is clicker training – use the clicker at the exact moment your dog performs the desired behavior and then give them a treat and praise.
For more positive reinforcement training tips – including for cats! – read our training blog.
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