New Year Resolutions for our Pets

Thursday, January 3, 2013

New Year Resolutions for our Pets

Most of us set resolutions for ourselves for the new year. We may resolve to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, be more careful with our money; we may even resolve to spend more time with our human kids.

But how many of us make resolutions for our pets?

According to statistics, 62 percent of households in the United States have at least one pet, and many of those pet "parents" consider their pets to be their furry or feathered kids. It seems only natural to include pets on a few of our resolutions for the new year.

Here are some of mine for my pets:

More exercise: While I make the resolution to get my feet in working order again, as I’ve suffered from Plantar Fesciitis since last spring, I’m resolving to include our canine 6-pack on more of those long walks we used to take before my feet began hurting. Our Beagle mix, Dexter, is especially showing the effects of too much food and not enough exercise. His run resembles more of a waddle.

Making homemade treats: Because of scares in recent years pointing to treats made in China as unsafe, I’ve resolved to make all of my doggy treats from scratch. This was actually a resolution I began at the end of 2012 when one of my dogs' Godmothers sent the 6-pack a bagful of homemade treats. My dogs were crazy for them, so it was a good thing she sent the recipe too.

Spending more time in play: My dogs accompany me to work every day; we joke that they are my assistants. Molly the red dapple Dachshund is their union representative as she lobbies for more pay (treats). When the dogs get into their usual play in the morning, I used to ignore them and try to work over the ruckus. Now I take a break and play with them, and everyone seems to have more fun.

When I checked some other pet blogs and animal welfare sites this morning, I found I’m not the only one who has made resolutions for my pets.

The ASPCA recommends that you resolve to ensure your pets have regular checkups and that they have proper identification. This is a good one; my dogs also need microchips.

Karen Asp, a writer for Woman's Day, recommends that you start an emergency fund or buy pet insurance if you haven’t already. This is a very good goal as veterinary costs increase during illness and our desire to keep our pets longer demands that we have some type of plan to pay for costly vet bills.

Another goal shared by many, the goal to quit smoking, is also a good one for smokers and their families, which includes their pets. Second-hand smoke is linked to some of the same health risks in pets as it is in their human counterparts.

Improving your dog’s social life and training him to be a therapy pet are also worthy goals she recommends, and ones I’ve had for quite some time.

One resolution I keep every year is to donate to homeless pets. We may not be able to help them all or give them all a home, but we always do what we can for those we cannot take in.

Editor's Note: Image by Flickr user Kristine Paulus

What resolutions do you have for your pet this year?