As 2021 finally approaches, you’re likely looking ahead to make the new year a more positive experience than 2020, with plans to eat better, exercise more, and take up a new hobby perhaps topping your resolution list. Your furry pal could probably also benefit from changes to their wellness routine, but they can’t do it on their own. Therefore, when creating your New Year’s resolutions, don’t forget to include your four-legged friend. Here are five resolutions you may want to add to your pet’s 2021 list. 

#1: Encourage your pet to be more active

Pets can also pack on holiday pounds, as families are busy running last-minute errands, visiting with family and friends, and managing the holiday chaos rather than watching what they eat. Fitting in daily walks and exercise sessions can be tough during the hectic holiday season, but January 1 is the perfect time to start a new exercise regimen. For your dog, explore new hiking trails, discover a fun sport, or play a backyard game. While cats may not be so amenable to wearing a harness and going on walks, you can still have plenty of fun inside. Break out your cat’s favorite feather wand, robotic mouse, or catnip toy to encourage them to play. Cats exercise best in short bursts, so keep activity sessions brief. For both species, daily exercise is critical for physical and mental health. 

#2: Create more environmental enrichment in your pet’s life

Your pet spends most of their time waiting for you to return home from work, which can become pretty boring. Spice up their life with environmental enrichment that will ward off problem behaviors caused by boredom. Try some of the following:

  • Feed your pet from food puzzles — Ditch your pet’s food dish and switch to a variety of food puzzles. Your pet will have to work for their food instead of gulping it down, plus they can burn time and energy while waiting for you to return home. 
  • Invest in pet interactive toys — Interactive toys are a great option for your pet to play with when you are not home. Robotic prey toys for cats and ball launchers or treat cameras for dogs are excellent ways to occupy pets. 
  • Keep your cat busy in your home’s vertical space — Cats enjoy surveying their territory from lofty viewpoints, so use your home’s vertical space to cater to your cat’s needs. Place climbing towers, cat shelves, and lookout perches throughout your home where your cat can hide, watch, and rest. 

#3: Check your pet’s diet

A new year is the perfect time to reevaluate your pet’s diet to ensure their ever-changing needs are met. As your pet ages, they need to switch from a puppy or kitten formula, to an adult diet, to a senior pet food. Pets with chronic medical conditions can benefit from a prescription food, and many pets enjoy the perks of a low-calorie, joint support diet. At your pet’s wellness visit with your family veterinarian, discuss the best diet to keep your furry pal healthy. 

#4: Update your pet’s collar ID tags and microchip information

There’s no better time to update your pet’s contact information than the beginning of a new year. Double check their collar ID tags for legibility and wear and tear, and for a current phone number. If you’ve moved or changed your phone number and not informed your microchip company, call them to update your contact information in case your pet goes missing. 

#5: Brush up on your pet’s dental care

Dental care is essential for all pets, as up to 80% of pets suffer some form of dental disease by age 3. Combat plaque and tartar with a two-pronged attack that uses at-home and professional dental care. Daily toothbrushing is the gold standard of at-home care, but strive for at least twice-weekly toothbrushing to remove plaque before it turns to tartar. Water additives, dental chews and treats, and oral wipes can round out a quality home-care regimen for your pet. Don’t forget to discuss your pet’s oral health during their wellness visit, as your family veterinarian will let you know where your furry pal falls on the dental disease scale, and when to schedule a dental cleaning. 

As part of your dedication to your pet’s wellness care in 2021, don’t forget to schedule routine preventive care visits with your family veterinarian. As always, your Pet Emergency Clinic and Referral Center team is here for your furry friend if they get into a scrape and need urgent care—we’re only a call away.