Love them like family. Feed them like family.

5 Resolutions to Help Your Pet Thrive in the New Year

The new year is a time for new beginnings. Many of us resolve to eat healthier, get more exercise, or make other improvements to live happier, better quality lives. But humans aren’t the only ones who can benefit from a fresh start. Here are 5 resolutions you can make to help your pet thrive in the new year.

1. Walk Your Pet
This resolution comes just in time for January, which is Walk Your Pet Month. Walking your pet provides the exercise he needs, the bonding time he craves, and the discipline required to adopt good behavior. The benefits of being walked aren’t limited to dogs. Cats can be trained to enjoy a nice stroll, too!

Train your cat to walk on a leash

Use a harness, not a collar. Get her used to it by putting it on before mealtime, then feeding her. Repeat for several days, then add the leash and let her walk around the house with it for several days.

Put a treat on the floor about a foot away from your cat, then gently tug on the leash to guide her to the treat. Do this repeatedly until your cat gets the idea. Be patient!

2. Stay on Top of Your Pet’s Health

This year, resolve to keep your pet on a regular schedule for checkups. This can help you avoid preventable he

alth problems and complications. The earlier a problem is detected, the sooner it can be treated,

which may save your pet unnecessary suffering and you an expensive surprise. Another way to stay on top of your pet’s health is to get organized about kee

ping track of vet visits and health issues. Keep a file that contains the dates of inoculations, medications, tests, any conditions or concerns your vet mentions, and any issues you may notice. Your records of your pet’s medical history can help provide your vet with valuable information.

A scratch-proof way to brush your cat’s teeth
If your cat is skittish about having her teeth brushed, bundle her up in a blanket or towel to keep her from lashing out or running off.

3. Brush Regularly
If your pet’s teeth haven’t been checked or cleaned in a while, this is the time. Once they’ve been professionally scaled and polished, keep them clean by them once a week. Healthy teeth and gums are essential for your pet.

 4. Groom Regularly
If your pet goes to a groomer, chances are you’re already on a four- to eight-week schedule. If your pet is the type that doesn’t need haircuts, is still important. Brushing helps remove dirt, reduces shedding, spreads natural oils and prevents matting. Bathing when necessary, nail clipping and ear cleaning will not only make your pet smell and look better, they can help prevent discomfort as well as health problems.

5. Update Your Pet’s I.D.
This is a good time to make sure your dog or cat’s I.D. tag is current. If you’ve been considering a microchip for permanent identification, make this the year you do it. If you have an electric fence, check the batteries on a regular schedule, starting now. And always put the collar on your pet, even if he’s very well trained. If there’s no warning to deter him, he’s likely to eventually push his boundaries.

 After you make your resolutions, there’s just one more thing to do: Enjoy your pet family members all year long!