It’s that time of the year again. Time to get back in shape, reconnect with your loved ones, and focus on health. Yes, I’m talking about New Year’s Resolutions.

Everyone in your house deserves a fresh start and pets are no exception. Many people vow to spend more time walking, training, and playing with their furry friends as part of their annual resolutions. Like the rest of us, they too have likely been a little under exercised and overfed the past few weeks. Perhaps you noticed something different in their behavior or health during the recent days off that has you concerned.

For those who have been out of town, you might have seen that something is off after your pet came home from their time at the kennel. These are all common scenarios that many households notice right after the mid-winter holiday season. 

Fortunately, this is the perfect season to invest extra time in your pet’s physical and emotional needs. Veterinarian’s offices are typically a little less hectic in the winter months and it is a great time to get that dental or do some baseline bloodwork to make sure everything is on track. While you are there, take a note of your pet’s weight and if some adjustments might need to be made before hiking season in the spring. Not only will going for extra walks help your pet feel more connected to you, the exercise will usually help them blow off that overflowing energy they might otherwise put into mischief while you are not watching. Keeping them active at whatever level is appropriate for their current health needs will improve muscle tone and overall fitness for the activities you plan to enjoy going into the summer months.  

Beyond revisiting your pet’s health goals, what they truly crave is extra attention from you. You are their person and they have been patiently-or sometimes not so patiently-waiting for you to find a few moments to dote on them. Many of us find that we are a little short on time to relax for those weeks leading up to New Year’s.

Not only are walks less appealing during the shortened daylight hours, we sometimes have more pressing obligations that take us away from quality time with our pets. Follow your instincts when you include your animal friends on your resolutions list. Go for that walk. Get out your cat’s favorite toy. Play a little fetch. Run through their most practiced tricks and let them show you how good they are. Sit quietly and read.

Whatever you two do best together, they will love the extra time with you. There is no moment like the present to take a breath and reconnect. 

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