As you rang in 2019 this past week, you probably made some New Year’s resolutions for yourself. Maybe you’d like to hit the gym more, drink more water, save money for a house – maybe all three! If you’re anything like me, you also had a goal or two on your list that had to do with your furry friend.
When I sat down to write out my resolutions, I initially wrote “be the best dog mom I can be” (because why not be cliché on New Year’s). One important thing I’ve learned about resolutions, however, is that they need to be specific and, ideally, measurable. When January 2020 rolls around and I look back at my year, for example, how will I know if I was the best dog mom I could be? What does being the best dog mom actually mean?
So, to make the New Year’s resolution process a little bit easier for all my fellow pet parents (and let’s be honest, for myself), here are resolution categories and ideas to help make 2019 the best year yet for you and your pet.
Have your walks with your dog become a bit monotonous, following the same path at the same time each day? Have you realized you haven’t taken your pet on a nice long hike in, well, years? Then 2019 is your year to be more adventurous! You don’t have to plan a wild and crazy adventure like hiking the Appalachian Trail (but if that is your resolution, I’m very impressed and would love to see photos when it happens!) – make your resolution something new and exciting, but also something attainable. Some resolutions to help you and your pet be more adventurous in 2019:
1. “Take my dog on at least one hike every week”
2. “Try out a new pet-friendly restaurant every month”
3. “Try at least two new exercise routines with my pet” (go for a run, a bike ride or take your pet kayaking)
We are glued to technology. How often have you found yourself watching TV while simultaneously scrolling through your phone? I myself am a culprit of this. For example, I walk Roxanne every morning before I go to work but over the past year or so, I found myself using our morning walks as an opportunity to quickly check my email or scroll through Instagram – all while Roxanne strolled by my side.
We only have a limited amount of time with our pets. When on a walk outside on a warm sunny morning or even when sitting on the couch with them, put the phone down or turn off the TV for a little while and just enjoy the moment. Some New Year’s resolutions to help you unplug:
4. “Leave my phone at home when on a walk,” or “Leave my phone on silent and in my pocket when on a walk” (If you’re like me and bring your phone with you for safety reasons
5. “Have 30 minutes of play time with my pet when I get home from work, rather than crashing on the couch and turning on the TV”
6. “Turn the TV off and my phone on Do Not Disturb by 8 p.m. every night to spend more quality time with my pet/my family”
Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Learning is always fun for pets! It keeps their mind engaged and helps combat boredom – which is good for pets of any age because a bored pet can get into all sorts of mischief. And what better way to spend a day than spending time with your pet, teaching them something new?
This resolution doesn’t have to just be about tricks. Look into mentally stimulating toys for your dog or cat. It’ll be especially helpful during the colder months when you may not be able to take your dog on a walk every morning, for example, but can instead keep their mind occupied as they hunt for treats in a fun toy. Some resolutions to help your pet continue learning in 2019:
7. “Teach my dog (or cat!) three new tricks”
8. “Enroll my dog in training classes”
9. “Buy two stimulating interactive toys” (This can be as simple as a treat dispensing toy. I recently bought Roxanne the PetSafe Busy Buddy Squirrel Dude and to say she’s obsessed would be an understatement. It’ll entertain her for hours!)
Us humans often make resolutions related to our health and wellness – staying fit, losing weight, eating healthier, etc. This can translate to our pets as well. Our pets rely on us for their health so make sure you’re keeping up with their check-ups, shots, daily routines etc.
While this resolution should go without saying, there may be a couple things you haven’t kept up on recently (it’s happened to all of us). Use the new year as an opportunity to hold yourself accountable and keep both your pet and yourself healthy. Here’s a couple ways to do so in 2019:
10. “Keep up with my dog’s heartworm and flea & tick medicine every month”
11. “Schedule my pet’s yearly vet check-up and keep up with any follow-up visits”
12. “Brush my pet’s teeth every night before bed” (I do this with Roxanne and it’ just become part of our bedtime routine – just check out those pearly whites!)
I’ve seen this sign floating around on social media for a while now and every time I see it, I share it. Whether you have all the time in the world and can devote a couple days a week to volunteering or have a hectic schedule where you barely get a minute to yourself, you can get involved with a rescue or shelter in so many different ways.
Make 2019 your year to get involved in the rescue community. Here’s a few simple ways:
13. “Volunteer at my local rescue at least twice a month”
14. “Donate a bag of dog food to my local shelter once a month”
15. “Share at least one adoptable animal on social media every week”
These are just a few ideas for your pet-related resolutions this year, but I’d love to hear what yours are! Send me a message or comment below. Here’s to a great 2019 and I can’t wait to look back a year from now to see all we’ve accomplished.