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New year resolutions for pet parents

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It’s that time. We’re stocking our refrigerators with healthy food, updating our gym membership, and making promises to be better people in 2014. Yes, it’s the New Year Resolution.

Typically, resolutions center around weight loss, fitness, or improving life skills. Rarely does someone make a resolution based on their role as a pet parent. But, you have the power to improve your pets’ lives through your resolutions. Here are four areas that can make a big difference.

Exercise
Yes, the dreaded exercise. You need it and so does your pet. The rate of pet obesity and obesity-related diseases like diabetes are on the rise in our country. In order to stay healthy your pets should get an hour of activity a day. It doesn’t have to happen at once. For dogs three twenty minute walks, a 30 minute walk plus 30 minutes playing fetch, or a good hour at the dog park are all excellent choices. By providing your dogs with toys they can take care of some of that activity on their own while you’re at work. If you just don’t have the time, consider hiring a professional dog walker or pet sitter to come in daily to provide some activity. Cats are usually a little more active because they tend to ‘explore’ during the day. They do well with toys during the day but for some real entertainment, invest a few dollars in a laser light and watch your cat go crazy trying to catch it!

Diet
Diet is important. The amount of food is a big one, as we are all over-feeders at heart, but probably more important is what we are feeding our pets. A raw diet is highly recommended by pet nutritionists, providing all the nutrients your pets require to be their healthiest. If you know you need to feed a processed pet food, buy the highest quality food you can afford. The higher the quality, the lower the fillers and empty calories that will just become excess weight.

Grooming
Daily grooming can make a huge difference in your pet’s life. A quick brush of the coat, an occasional clip or file of the nails, brushing teeth a few times a week; all of these are simple and quick actions that will keep your pet looking and feeling better. This is not a suggestion that you stop taking your pet to your professional groomer. They will still expect that cut, style & blow-dry to which they’ve become accustomed!

Interaction
Finally, we come to the most important of all – personal interaction. Your pets crave your love and attention and they can’t be happy without it. Make it a point to spend quality time with your pets each day. Go for a walk or brush out their coat and you’re crossing two things off the list at once. Even if it’s just sitting on the couch with them while you read or watch TV, the time spent with you will keep them happy and healthier than if they receive little attention. If you don’t have time to spend with your pet it might be time to consider rehoming them so they can become part of a family that can satisfy all their social needs.

It only takes a little time each day to make sure your pets are healthy, happy and loved. Maybe 2014 is the right year to make your pets a priority and make your resolutions from the perspective of a pet parent. You and your pets will be thankful you did.

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