New Year’s Resolutions for You and Your Pet!

The following is from

New Year’s Resolutions are about giving yourself a clean slate, and making a commitment to self-improvement in the New Year. Unfortunately, most of us give up on ourselves by February 1st.

But if you make your commitment with a friend — say, a four-legged one who shares your home — you’re more likely to follow through.

Last year, HSUS posted a pledge for animal friendly resolutions. It’s a good starting point, and there are certainly a lot of actions that could be added to list. But this post is about you and your dog. After all, the happier you are at home, and with yourself, the more you’ll have to give to the larger cause. And your dog will love the extra quality time as you work on your resolutions together.

For the vast majority of the population, New Year’s Resolutions can be broken down into five main categories:

1) Health Improvement: Whether you’re hoping to lose weight or get in shape, your dog should be included. Even if you’re happy with your own fitness, pet obesity is at epidemic proportions, and your dog needs an exercise program. If you’re looking to quit smoking or reduce your alcohol intake, the best technique is to take up a new hobby. Try getting involved in a dog sport, like agility or rally obedience. Also, don’t forget all the well-documented health benefits of simply spending time with your dog.

2) Financial Management: Pets aren’t always seen as money-savers, but there are a few things you can do for your dog that will help your bottom line. The most expensive part of having animals tends to be vet care. For you and your dog, prevention is the best medicine. In addition to exercise, choose high quality dog food and treats — you’ll pay more up front, but you’ll feed less of it and you’ll avoid a lot of health problems. Just like you save money in your people-food budget by eating at home, try making your own homemade dog cookies to save on your treat line item. And, of course, bonding with your dog means you’re spending less money going out.

3) Self-Improvement: Why not make a commitment to dog training in 2010? Not only will you fulfill your pledge to learn a new skill, but you’ll improve your relationship with your dog. No matter how much training you’ve done, there’s always more you can learn together, from tricks to dog sports. Have fun with it, and you’ll fulfill the next resolution, too…

4) Stress Reduction: Being around animals is a proven stress-reliever, so there’s no better way to start reducing stress than by hanging out with your dog. You’ll both be happier for it.

5) Helping Others: If your dog loves people and has a solid temperament, consider becoming a therapy dog team. Share your dog’s love in hospital and nursing home visits, and through school programs such as building literacy through children reading to dogs. Volunteer for your local shelter or rescue group and, if you become a foster home, your dog will play an important role in helping socialize other animals to prepare them for their new families.

Photo credit: jeniphur99


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