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January 22, 2013 at 8:00 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

How our Pets can SAVE our New Year's Resolutions!

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

Yes, I am writing this blog towards the end of January versus the beginning of January when New Year's Resolutions are in full-throttle. I chose the end of January due to the fact that, according to Statistic Brain, 34% of all New Year's resolutions have already been broken by this time.

The Top 5 New Year Resolutions for 2013 were:

1) Lose Weight

2) Getting Organized

3) Spend Less, Save More

4) Enjoy Life to the Fullest

5) Staying Fit and Healthy

You may be asking, "What in the world does this have to do with my pet?" No worries, I am here to explain.

A majority of resolutions revolve around health. Our pets are unable to communicate to us their frustrations with the lack of exercise we provide them, lack of high quality food we feed them, and their overall well-being. Many pets suffer from diabetes caused by obesity and lack of exercise. Some suffer from severe skin problems, due to lack of a proper nutritional diet. To help you not be in the 34% criteria, I am going to talk about how to use your pet as a way to "spur" you on with your New Years Resolutions!

I am going to break down each one, and explain how your pet will help you achieve these resolutions.

1) Lose Weight

Obviously when we set this resolution we take a hard look at what we are feeding ourselves, and go through our cupboards dumping all our processed foods in the garbage. Great idea! Processed food (anything boxed or bagged) is like feeding garbage to our system. Fresh and unaltered food is the BEST way to go when wanting to lose weight. What about your dog or cat?

We need to clean their cupboard too. Remember, you're in this together with your pet. Start reading the labels on your pet's food. Disgusted yet? You might be if you are feeding your pet a low-quality food. A majority of pet foods are filled with fillers like corn, by-products (left overs from the slaughterhouse), artificial preservatives, flavoring, and coloring.; YIKES! No wonder a majority of American pets suffer from a multitude of skin, weight problems, and other ailments.

Provide your pet with a grain free diet to start with, looking for fish, turkey, or even bison as the protein. Of course, avoiding a prepackaged meal for our pets is the healthiest option, but not so much in the convenience department. Don't despair, please read my previous blogs on my choice of Dog Food and Cat Food in the kibble formulation, as well as the hidden secrets of Pet Food Companies.

Don't forget the supplements! We tend to start taking vitamins when we decide to lose weight and change our eating habits, which of course is a very healthy decision. Don't leave your pets out on this, they too can take Fish Oil, Probiotics, Vitamin C, and others. Just consult with your vet prior to giving your pet any type of supplement as dogs and cats have different needs.

When preparing a healthy snack, like carrots and apples for yourself, instead of throwing your dog a biscuit or pulling out the cat treats, slice a few extra for them too.  They will enjoy this healthy treat with you.

2) Getting Organized

Really? How does this involve our pet? Organize your pet first! Start first by organizing your pet's papers such as:

  • Veterinary information
  • Information on kennels and pet sitters
  • Microchip information
  • Training class certificates
  • Service or Therapy dog documentation (if it applies)
  • Proof of vaccinations
  • Pictures of your pet(s)
  • If you are a breeder, provide extra info. New owners appreciate this

I use a binder and tabs to keep these papers in one place, and easily accessible. Read my blog on Getting Pets Organized to learn more on how to do this.Getting Your Pets Organized

Having a "station" for leashes, extra collars and tags, brushes, combs, clothing, nail clippers, medicine, food, and treats is a great way to start getting organized. I provide my pets with their own cupboard that has their daily essentials in it. Easy access is key, as well as having everything in one place.

By my door is where I have organized their leashes, harnesses, and winter coats (it is January).

This saves me hours looking for something as simple as a brush for their daily or weekly grooming, or a leash to take them outside for their walk.

3) Spend Less, Save More

So you decided to tighten your belt on the ol' finances! Fantastic, want to know how your pet can help you?

Purchasing a higher grade quality food helps with minimizing health issues, which in return reduces vet cost. Plus the higher the quality the less you actually have to feed your pet, because their body processes it better, making them feel full longer.

Toys, toys, toys! Recycle, reuse, and Do-It-Yourself (DIY). Yes, it really is that simple, and cost effective. There are awesome tips on DIY pet items on Pinterest. I wrote a blog about free and low cost cat toys too, check it out!

Here are two ideas for all those empty plastic water bottles:

All those plastic water bottles that are littering our environment, dogs LOVE to chew on them, just cover them with a fleece, sewing one end shut, and leaving the other end to add velcro so you can easily access the bottle to remove and replace when it is destroyed.

For a cat, punch small holes in the plastic bottle, fill with catnip, put cap back on, and let kitty get a "whiff" of this. They will enjoy batting this around for hours.

4) Enjoy Life to the Fullest

Ok, if pets can't help you do this, I don't know what will! Pets wake up in the morning with a spring in their "paw", smiling, and looking forward to what the day is going to bring them! They are full of LIFE, LOVE, and just want to be with you. Dogs are ready at a moments notice to go outside for playtime, a walk, or just to run errands with you. Who can be having a bad day around a dog or cat, as they greet us with heartfelt enthusiasm each time we wake up or come home from a long day's work?

If a pet doesn't exude Enjoying Life to the Fullest, what does? They are a walking billboard for taking time to "smell the roses." They live in the moment, and only want to please us. I feel they are the perfect example of how to Enjoy Life to the Fullest.

5) Staying Fit and Healthy

Have a dog? No excuses here! Grab the walking or jogging shoes (depending on the type of dog you have), the leash, and of course Fido! Having a dog is the best form of exercise. Every dog wants to go for a walk, or to the park. They encourage movement, and movement gets a body fit and healthy!

Play games with your dog, like hide-n-seek. Hide in a room, call your dog to you, reward your dog with a yummy healthy treat (like a baby-carrot), and then repeat by going to another room. This is also a great way to reinforce the "recall" command and gets you and your pet moving.

Just take a look at my blog about How Pets Can Improve our Health to learn more about the health benefits of being a pet-parent.

Don't have a dog? No worries, your local animal shelter or humane society are looking for volunteers to help them take the many available dogs for adoption out for daily walks. What a wonderful way to give back by volunteering, and you get your exercise in at the same time.

Have a cat? No excuses here either! Take a fishing pole like-toy, and start running through the house having your cat chase it. Include the stairs if you have them!

I hope your pets become a great source of inspiration in helping you SAVE your New Year's Resolutions!

Resources:

Statistic Brain

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