The new year is coming and with it all sorts of New Year’s resolutions. I know our pets cannot make resolutions on their own, but maybe we can make some for them and help increase their joy of life.
We all love to play. Let’s resolve to play more with our dogs and cats. Cats love to chase and hunt things like laser pointers, tissues on a string or catnip filled toy mice. All of these encourage movement and are fun to play with. Ten minutes of play a couple of times in the day increases our cats’ metabolism, helps them stay lean and fills their basic hunting need. It is also fun for us.
Dogs love to chase whether it is us, a ball or a stick the chase game is loads of fun for all concerned. It is important to have a warm up period of five minutes so the muscles can limber up after resting. Doing this warm up helps prevent injuries. Chasing things allows dogs to run which they love. The game increases their metabolism, improves their fitness and helps stave off winter boredom. Even little dogs love to chase, and they can do so in the house more easily than larger dogs.
Another resolution would be to cut down on the snacks for our pets. The winter is a prime time for pets to gain weight because they, like us, tend to be less active in the colder months. Using their own kibble as snacks helps to keep them on a balanced diet and helps prevent weight gain.
Resolving to do more grooming, brushing of the fur coat is another good one. Grooming is a social behaviour for dogs and cats and also keeps their fur unmated. Grooming strengthens the bond between us and our pets and keeps them looking good.
Increasing exercise, decreasing snacks and increasing grooming, all great resolutions for the New Year. Have a great 2017.
Written by Dr David Kerr, DVM