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Nanaimo Veterinary Hospital

Include your Pet in Your New Year's Resolutions

January 16, 2014

Happy New Year to you and yours from all of us at the Nanaimo Veterinary Hospital. With the joy (and sometimes stress that comes along with it) of the holidays now securely behind us, many people now look toward making a “fresh start” to the New Year, which also involves making New Year’s resolutions.

For many people, New Year’s resolutions often involve getting healthier, which can involve losing weight, giving up caffeine, improving one’s diet, starting a new exercise routine, or any of the other lifestyle changes we know we “should” make, but are often difficult to start. Particularly if you, like us, were inundated with (and powerless to resist) a plethora of chocolates, cookies, and other goodies over the holiday season, this may just be the perfect time to buckle down and get back to healthier lifestyle habits.

However, studies have shown that, for a host of reasons, the majority of New Year’s resolutions fail. Reasons for this vary, but it has been proven that creating and sharing your resolutions with friends or family members can improve the success and longevity of your plans. So, this year, why not include your pet in your New Year’s resolution? Simply walking for a few minutes a day is great for both physical and mental health, and is safe for most people, regardless of age and physical condition. If you have a dog, we’re sure that he or she would be ecstatic to go on walks more often. Start small and then, as you are able work yourself up to longer or faster walks.

If you’re keen for something more challenging than a walk, resolve to start running with your dog. Hiking is another great option that will not only help you and your dog keep fit, but also enjoy nature and explore areas you may not otherwise have ventured to. Again, start small and work your way up.  If you want to try something a bit more mentally stimulating for you and the pooch, look into agility, field trials, bikejoring, or any of the countless other dog sports available. If you or your dog are elderly or have health concerns, please be sure to consult your doctor and veterinarian before beginning any type of exercise plan.

Other pets can be included in your New Year’s resolutions as well. The majority of house cats are overweight and could use a bit more play time. Throw toys for your cat to chase, break out that laser pointer, or play a game of “tag” by letting your cat chase you around the house. While this may not mean a lot of exercise for you, it will be great for your cat, and is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Simply spending time with your pets, be they canine, feline, or otherwise, has been shown to have numerous health benefits. So, if nothing else, make this the year you resolve to spend more time with your furry friends – both you and they will benefit from it.

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