New Year’s resolutions are important for pets (and their humans)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city of Jacksonville’s Animal Care and Protective Services is ringing in the New Year by providing tips on how to set reasonable health and wellness improvement goals for pets.

“Each New Year, many of us set goals for ourselves, not realizing that our pets can also benefit from a challenge. For example, if you pledge to exercise more, set the same goal for your pet(s) so that you can tackle the resolution together,” explained ACPS Division Chief Jennifer Walter.

ACPS recommends the following resolutions for your pet:

  • Remember to Exercise Regularly: You and your puppy pal need 30 to 60 minutes of exercise daily. Take your dog on regular walks and runs through the park or on the beach. Bring along water, toys and leashes for you both to enjoy. For indoor cats, ensure there are plenty of safe and engaging toys that will encourage play to give them exercise, too.
  • Maintain a Healthy Diet: A healthy diet is key to your pets’ fitness and happiness. Like humans, pets cannot out-exercise a poor diet. Give pets high-quality pet food and avoid giving them table food. Be mindful of the number of snacks and treats they consume. Though treats might make them happy, they can cause unnecessary weight gain.
  • Go to the Vet: Regular vet checkups help prevent and manage illness, disease and the overall health of your pet. Make sure your pet remains up-to-date on shots.
  • Update Your Pets’ Tags: Make sure your pets have updated information on their tags. The information on these tags is critical for reuniting pets and their owners, should they become separated from you. Make sure the tag includes your name and phone number at the least.
  • Get Groomed: In addition to making your pet feel clean, comfortable and happy, grooming helps prevent skin diseases. Take your pet to a professional groomer or learn how to groom at home.
  • Learn New Skills: Mental exercise is just as important as physical. Teaching an old dog a new trick helps enhance motor and listening skills, and improves obedience. Plus, teaching new tricks is a great way to relieve stress for yourself and is great bonding time between you and your pet.
  • Remain Patient and Positive: With all the changes that occurred this past year, your pet may still be adjusting to an altered lifestyle. “Your pets may still be getting used to you being home more or missing old playmates from the park that they have not seen in a while. This may impact their behavior. Remain positive when striving to achieve these New Year’s goals,” shared Walter.

“New Year’s resolutions are a great time for a fresh start for everyone,” said Walter. “After a difficult year, it is a fun opportunity for a fresh start.”