5 New Year's resolutions to benefit you and your pets

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While you’re working hard at sticking to those New Year’s resolutions, to improve your own life, why not consider making a change or two that will improve the lives of your beloved pets? Some of the ideas below will probably aid you in achieving your own goals for 2016 as well.

1.    Exercise

Health and wellness cover the majority of our resolutions, and it should be no different with our pets. Ensuring pets get sufficient exercise will not only aid in maintaining a healthy weight but will also assist in ensuring increased mental stimulation.

Allowing your pets to sniff and explore new environments will offer them a safe outlet for some of their natural animal behaviours and hopefully limit problem behaviours developing. If you’re looking for a new activity to get involved in this year, choose one that’s pet appropriate so that you both benefit.

2.    Diet

While you’re again watching your diet after all the holiday indulging, consider your pet’s nutrition as well, to ensure that they are getting a complete and balanced diet, appropriate for their age, size, life stage and lifestyle. Opt for a pet food brand that has committed to putting the health and nutritional wellbeing of your pet first. They’re easily identified by their PFI (Pet Food Industry Association of Southern Africa) membership, allowing them to proudly display the PFI logo on their packaging or have their brand listed on the PFI website.

When feeding, measure the correct amount of food, every time, to ensure that you do not overfeed. Adjust food amounts according to all other food ingested by your pet on a daily basis, but keep treats and other additions to a minimum.

3.    Step into your pet’s shoes

Every now and then consider life from your pet’s perspective. Our expectations of our pets can be extremely high and we often forget that they too are emotional beings. Know your pet’s limitations and don’t force them into a stressful situation where they may be forced to act out in an unexpected manner. Seek professional assistance to address anxiety, fear and aggression, so that your pet may enjoy a calm, stress-free existence.  

4.    Make an appointment with the vet

Annual check-ups with the vet are not only intended to administer annual inoculations but are an effective tool in good preventative care. Common health concerns in aging pets, if caught early enough, are far easier to manage. You can also use the appointment to re-evaluate your pet’s diet and ask advice on other concerns and behavioural issues, to make the most of the session.

5.    Play more

Play is a great way to bond with your pet, offering an additional outlet for physical energy. Get creative and try new games to keep the interest levels high for yourself and your pet. Games that engage your cat’s predatory instinct offer great stimulation, as does training new tricks in dogs. Studies have shown that a mentally stimulated pet has a lesser risk of cognitive deterioration in older years, so get your game face on!

A new year brings with it the promise of a fresh start, but it’s never too late or too early in the year to implement new habits that will improve the lives of the pets you love as well as the relationship that you share with them.

This was brought to you by The Pet Food Industry Association of Southern Africa (PFI).

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