New year resolutions for you and your pet

Play more. Not only does playtime strengthen the bond you share with your pet, but it can give your mood a boost, too.

At the start of the year, a group of pet owners were asked to ‘paws’ and reflect on what their pets would like to achieve this year. Here’s what they had to say:

Get outside more

Although travel options were limited last year, the good news is you don’t have to go far to give your pet a new experience. The simple act of changing up your walk route can give your dog access to new and exciting scents. As restrictions permit, consider visiting your local park, conservation area, or simply try out a new route around your neighbourhood. The fresh air will do you both good!

Eat fewer treats

Healthy eating is perhaps one of the most common resolutions cited by both pets and their people – and for a good reason. Did you know that over 60 per cent of Canadian pets are overweight? While it can be hard to resist those puppy dog eyes or your cat’s gentle nudging, it’s important to use treats in moderation. Opt for treats made from high quality, healthy ingredients and use in combination with other forms of rewards, like playtime, praise or a good snuggle session.

Play more

Not only does playtime strengthen the bond you share with your pet, but it can give your mood a boost, too. That’s especially important these days as people and their pets are feeling the effects of social isolation. Help your pet burn off excess energy with a rousing game of indoor hide and seek, fetch, a new puzzle feeder or play with a wand toy.

Get more rest

Has your extra time spent at home been interfering with your pet’s usual nap schedule? Does your pet get a case of the 3 a.m. zoomies? Or perhaps this resolution was suggested more so for pet parents themselves. Either way, pets thrive on routine. Establish a schedule for meals, play, walks, litter box maintenance and bedtime and do your best to stick to it. If your pet seems like they have excess energy when you’re trying to go to sleep, you may need to ramp up their exercise routine.

Bark less

Whether the mail carrier, squirrels or neighbours walking by gets your dog going, excessive barking can be frustrating for pet parents to manage, especially if you live in a condo or townhouse. Dogs may bark for a variety of reasons, from boredom to alerting to anxiety or fear. Get to the root cause of what is causing your dog to react to establish an effective response. In some cases, simply removing the stimulus can be enough to curb the behaviour. It’s important to stay calm, patient and to use positive reinforcement to reward quiet behaviour. petsplusus.com

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