If you’re still trying to think of a New Year’s resolution, here’s a list for you pet owners. Not only can these actions improve your pet’s quality of life, studies have shown they can improve yours too. Commitment is easier when it benefits both you and the ones you love most. We call that a win-win for 2017!
1) Update my pet’s ID & microchip info
A lot can change over the course of a year, people move, get new phone numbers, and forget to update their pet’s tags & microchip info. Often they only remember once the pet is lost. Keeping your contact information up to date is the best way to ensure a lost pet makes their way safely home. This also makes one great New Year's resolution for you AND your furry family member.
- Keep a visible collar and tag with up to date information on your pet at all times. Of course, a tag can still fall off or be damaged, so if you pair an external tag with permanent microchip ID, your pet will have two solid layers of protection to get him/her home.
- Get your dog/cat microchipped. If your pet isn’t chipped yet, ask your vet to implant an ISO standard chip. Microchipped dogs are 2.4 times more likely to make it out of a shelter and back home, and chipped cats are a whopping 21.4 times more likely to make it home!
- Register your pet’s microchip number in a free Found Animals Registry. Thats right, free. Outdated information will make it hard for a shelter to track you down, delay or prevent your pet’s return home.
2) Make a Date with My Vet
Pets need to visit the vet once per year; for older pets, the visits should be more frequent (about twice per year). Yearly examinations by the veterinarian are a key component of good preventive care. Many medical conditions are much easier (and less expensive!) to manage when detected in the early stages. So this is a crucial New Year's resolution. Stay current on those vaccines and checkups, and your pet will thank you later.
3) Be Active With My Pet Daily
A super popular New Year's resolution. If you and/or your pet need to lose weight, add this resolution to your list!
- Outdoors: From hiking, to doga, or simply walking to get coffee, engaging in exercise with your pet will enhance you AND your dog’s physical health. Engaging in regular activity with your pet improves behavior, reduces the incidence of obesity, and prevents future problems. Not to mention, it gets you out of the house, out in the world and increases the bond you two share!
- Indoors: For our indoor cat folks, there are plenty of exercises you can do to rev up kitty’s activity level. Use a cat’s predatory instincts to your advantage. Lasers, fake rodents, catnip toys, strings, crinkly balls, and wand toys all trigger their natural desire to chase, thus getting them off that sunny window ledge and running around.
- Helps Others: Adding foster pet(s) to your home is beneficial on many different levels. The most obvious -- that you will be saving a life. Many rescues need loving homes to provide a safe and temporary place for pets while they await their forever homes. It’s also the perfect way to test the waters of pet ownership without the lifelong commitment.
- Helps Your Current Pets: Dogs and cats often act out because they are stressed, lonely, or bored. Adding a foster to your family can help to improve your current pet’s mood by providing them with exercise, socialization, and camaraderie.
- Helps You: People can experience a big boost in their own mood from doing something good for others. Most foster parents report that they actually benefit more from the relationship than their dog/cat. Caring for a homeless pet can lead to a richer, fuller and more meaningful life.
5) Volunteer in the New Year!
When brainstorming the different ways you can give back to the community, consider helping homeless pets by volunteering at one of your local shelters, rescues, or animal welfare organizations. Many of these organizations could not operate without the help of volunteers. Walking dogs, playing with cats, donating money, time or much needed items like blankets, food, toys, and bowls, are all great ways to lend a hand. Volunteering will not only provide you with a rewarding experience, but also the satisfaction of enriching the lives of animals. Unlike other obligatory resolutions, this New Year's resolution will make you feel really good.