Not everyone likes or wants to make New Year’s resolutions, but registered vet techs Kristi Valentini and Jenna Stregowski have these tips that will benefit you and your pet.

  1. Be active every day. In addition to taking your dog for a walk, you can also play fetch, run around the house together, or even train your dog to walk on a treadmill. Cats enjoy chasing and jumping on toys and climbing cat towers.
  2. Switch to a healthier diet. Cats and dogs have very specific nutritional and dietary requirements in terms of the amount of protein, fat, carbohydrates, and calories they need each day. Talk to your vet for a pet food recommendation you know you can trust.
  3. Try something new. This is a great time to sign up for classes to learn something new together. You can even train your pet well enough to participate in obedience competitions. Some animals can even be trained to do a special job, such as search and rescue assistance.
  4. Rethink portion sizes. It’s easy to overfeed pets, especially when we associate food with love. But overfeeding pets leads to obesity, which is a major disease in both dogs and cats. It increases the risk of heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Use a measuring cup to give your pet the exact amount of food that keeps them healthy.
  5. Begin a grooming routine. Many dogs never need a haircut, but still need to have their nails trimmed, coat brushed, ears cleaned, and bathed regularly. Unfortunately, grooming delays can cause nails to grow too long and ears to get dirty or infected. Schedule regular home grooming sessions or trips to a groomer.
  6. Brush your pet’s teeth more frequently. Lack of daily dental hygiene is the reason most dogs and cats have some form of oral disease by age three, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. Try brushing your cat’s or dog’s teeth regularly with a pet-safe enzymatic toothpaste; If your pet will not tolerate a toothbrush in their mouth, consider a veterinarian-approved water additive or dental chew. Ask your vet for a recommendation.
  7. Making new friends. While a kitten can thrive on your affection alone, many dogs enjoy socializing with other pups. Taking your dog to dog day camp is a great way to burn off energy, interact with other dogs, and help your pet get used to being apart from you. Other options include visiting a dog park, setting up playdates with friends, or even getting your pet a companion.
  8. Prepare for emergencies. Unfortunately, emergencies do happen, but being prepared can make it much easier to manage. Prepare a first aid kit for your pet and learn how to use it. Take a pet CPR course or ask your vet for instructions on how to respond if a pet stops breathing. Many pet CPR classes cover other first aid, including what to do if a pet is choking or bleeding.

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