Are you a little late setting your new year’s resolutions this year? Or have you already miserably failed at them? Don’t worry if you have as here are some new year’s resolutions you can actually stick to. Making resolutions are not just for us – pets can make some positive changes too.

The start of a new year can signal a fresh start for pets (as well as us humans!) With so many pets overweight, there’s no better time for owners to commit to a new diet and exercise regime for their pets. So, even if your personal goals have failed and you’ve pressed the snooze button instead of hitting the gym it doesn’t have to be the same for them! Want some more ideas? Then check out these resolutions to make this year your pet’s healthiest and safest year yet!

  1. Get a microchip

If you read our previous article on microchipping, you will know that from April 6 2016 it will be a legal requirement to have your dog microchipped. So make it your new year’s resolution to get it done if you haven’t already. A microchip offers a form of identification for your pet if the collar is lost or removed. Microchips are vital to giving your pet an ID and increasing your chance of being reunited with your pet. Already have your pet microchipped? Then check that your pet’s registration is up to date on the register and phone numbers and address details are the right ones.

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  1. Measure your pet’s food (every meal)

A balanced diet is critically important to your pets’s growth and overall health. Barring any special needs, your pet should be able to get all the nutrients he or she needs from high- quality pet food but pets of different ages and sizes have different nutritional requirements. Many owners guess how much food to pour into a bowl and this usually results in overfeeding and weight gain. The amount you feed your adult dog or cat should be based on his or her size and energy output. Activity levels may vary dramatically between pets, and will play an important role in determining calorie intake. The recommended feeding guidelines on the bag are good place to start to figure out how much food they really need.

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  1. Try out a new activity

From hiking to kayaking (yes really!) it’s easier than ever for people to incorporate their pet into a new exercise routine. Dogs and people have a lot in common – big or small, young or old, they need exercise daily. Not only is it a great way to bond with your pet, you will both also reap the rewards of a healthy physical lifestyle. Regular exercise can also help reduce some bad behaviors in your pet, especially those done out of boredom. If you are stuck on how to add something new to your routine then check out these innovative and fun activities to enjoy with your pet. Variety is the spice of life after all.

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  1. Make a date with the vet

Yearly examinations by the vet are key in keeping your pet healthy. Whilst some health problems are obvious in your pet, others can go easily undetected.  Many medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, or obesity are common in aging pets and much easier to manage when detected in the early stages of the disease process. Start the year off with a visit to the vets and they will help you access your pet’s overall health and suggest any necessary treatment. It’s also the perfect time to ask for advice, update your pet’s food or get an expert opinion on any other issues that may be affecting you and your pet.

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  1. Play more

Make an effort to spend a little more time with your pet this year. You will both reap the benefits. It’s much more fun to run around chasing balls and playing with toys than to sit and mope all day ( and the same applies for your pet!)

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  1. Keep on top of the grooming

Dogs and cats need to be pampered just like us. A bath, nail trim and maybe a haircut will keep them pampered, groomed and happy. Even just by regularly brushing your pet’s coat, it will help distribute oils from the skin to the fur, keeping the coat shiny and healthy.

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  1. Practice good oral hygiene

No we are not just talking about making an appointment at the dentist (although that isn’t a bad idea!) It’s also important to provide good oral hygiene for your pet. Research has found that over 80% of dogs and 70% of cats have gum disease by the age of three. Daily toothbrushing will help prevent gum disease and keep tartar and plaque at bay.

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  1. Teach an (old) dog new tricks

Enrich your dog’s brain with new training – even if it simply means trying out some new tricks. There has been lots of research which suggests mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in ageing animals so what better reason to keep your pet’s brain active?

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