Forty percent of Americans will make New Year’s resolutions this year – but what about pets? The New Year is the perfect time for a fresh start for our four-legged friends too. From diet and exercise, to preventative health and safety, below are some tips from Aimee Gilbreath, Executive Director of Los Angeles-based nonprofit, Michelson Found Animals, for a happier and healthier pet in 2018.
1) UPDATE YOUR PET’S ID & MICROCHIP INFO
A lot can change over the course of a year, people move, get new phone numbers, and forget to update their pet’s tags & microchip info. Keeping your contact information up to date is the best way to ensure a lost pet makes their way safely home. If your pet isn’t chipped yet, visit an Adopt & Shop store (in Culver City or Lakewood) to get your pet microchipped for free. That’s right, free. Microchipped dogs are 2.4 times more likely to make it out of a shelter and back home, and chipped cats are a whopping 21.4 times more likely to make it home! If your pet is already microchipped, make sure their chip is registered. Registration is quick and cheap – thanks to the free Found Animals Registry. Outdated information will make it hard for a shelter to track you down, delay or prevent your pet’s return home.
2) REASSESS YOUR PET’S DIET
When was the last time you read the ingredient panel on your pet’s food? If you haven’t looked recently, you may be shocked at what’s inside. This year, switch your pets to a premium quality brand. When choosing food for your pet, look for real, whole ingredients and stay away from fillers, artificial preservatives, additives, chemicals, and genetically modified foods. Your pets will notice the difference and so will you!
A poor-quality diet can directly affect the immune system, eyes, skin, muscles, joints, and intestinal health. Feed your pet meals that you feel good about. Do a little research on their current food and make sure there is a healthy balance of protein, fats, fiber, and vegetables. (Added bonus if you choose a sustainable, organic, and certified humane food.)
3) BE ACTIVE WITH YOUR PET DAILY
According to Statista, 45 percent of American’s New Year’s resolution is to lose weight or get in shape and it’s estimated that 54% of dogs and 59% of cats are overweight or obese. As with humans, obesity is a significant risk factor for many life-threatening diseases.
Burning calories is always easier when you have a buddy and pets make the best fitness partners because they’ll never flake or convince you that you should eat a cupcake instead of doing crunches! From simple changes like walking to coffee instead of driving, or more extreme activities like hiking and doga – there are plenty of ways to improve both you and your dog’s health, while having a little fun. For indoor cat folks, use your cat’s predatory instincts to your advantage, lasers, fake rodents, catnip toys, strings, crinkly balls, and wand toys all trigger their natural desire to chase.