The year of the Monkey starts on the 8th of February 2016 in the Chinese New Year calendar, but let’s don’t forget our cats and dogs.  We share our top 10 New Year resolutions for pets to keep them happy and healthy in 2016.  And a happy pet means a happy pet parent!

1. Play more with your pet

New Year resolutions for pets - Cat playing with Da Bird toy

Cat playing with Da Bird toy. Photo:

Spend more time playing with your pet is one of our key New Year resolutions for pets.  How about a game of tug with your dog? Playing tug-of-war is some of the most fun we can have with our adult dogs.

For cat guardians, Nerida from Cats Protection NSW recommends Da Bird toy.  It’s an interactive toy that mimics the motions of a live bird in flight. This feather toy activates the cat’s hunting instinct and it is a great way to exercise your cat.  Nerida says, ‘It comes with attachments too so even if the cat destroys the toy at the end of the stick it’s fixable.’

2. Teach your pet a new trick

There are many benefits of teaching your dog and…your cat tricks! Firstly, it can be really fun. Training tricks provide really good mental exercise for your pet (and the trainer).  It is also a wonderful way to form a closer bond with your pet. Use positive reinforcement training techniques, which uses praise and/or treats to reward your dog/cat for doing something you want him to do.  Keep training sessions brief. named Poodle Chanda-Leah ‘the world’s smartest dog’.  Chanda Leah was the Guinness World Record holder for the most dog tricks. If you think dogs are smarter than cats at learning tricks think again.

Check out Didga the Cat video and be amazed by her skateboarding and other tricks!

3. Keep your pet trim and terrific 

Is your pet overweight?  Pet obesity is a HUGE issue in Australia and it is one of our really important New Year resolutions for pets.  According to the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA), the overweight pet has a shorter life span and poorer quality of life, compromising its welfare.  The AVA says the incidence of obesity in pets increases with the incidence of obesity in owners.  Talk to your vet about what your pet’s ideal weight should be.

4. Brush your pet’s teeth

Proper dental care is key to your pet’s well-being and health.  Talk to your vet about the best way to do this for your pet.

5. Schedule a checkup

Set your pet up for a healthy year by making an appointment for a checkup with your veterinarian.  Checkups are critical for detecting subtle changes in your pet’s physical health. Regular visits to the vet play a huge part in the whole ‘prevention is better than cure’ approach, so don’t just wait until it’s obvious your dog or cat needs medical attention.  The check-up will cover:

  • vaccinations are up to date
  • weight and body condition
  • heart and respiratory
  • Worming routine
  • Flea and tick prevention
  • Dental care
  • Ear care
  • Behaviour

6. Practice proper grooming

All animals can benefit from regular nail trimmings, brushings, and baths.  Find out what is correct practice for your pet’s breed and age. Brushing your pet removes dead under-coat, helping air to circulate near the skin, keeping pets cooler.  In the summer pets can get bitten by insects and end up with moist dermatitis.  Removing dead, matted hair by brushing helps skin stay drier.  Brush daily.

7. Keep it clean

Take the time each week to pick up toys, vacuum and wash your pet’s bedding regularly.  For cats, refresh the kitty litter daily – just like us, no cat is happy with a dirty toilet!  If your cat stops using the kitty litter, you need to find out why before a serious problem develops.  More on kitty litter problems.

8. Upgrade your pets’ toys

New Year resolutions for pets - Kong Wobbler

Kong Wobbler

Firstly, throw out any unsafe toys.  Here’s a couple of ideas for new toys. For cats, Nerida from Cat Protection NSW recommends the carrot or chilli pepper toy filled with 100% catnip. They have strong, aromatic fragrance that stimulates playful behaviours.  For both cats and dogs, you could try the KONG Wobbler, it’s a food dispensing toy and feeder that sits upright until pushed with a paw or nose. Then it dispenses treats as it wobbles, spins and rolls.

9. Flea and tick prevention

Administer flea and tick prevention all year round – don’t wait until Spring, you’ll regret it!  Medications include oral chews, collars and spot-on treatments.  Ask your vet what’s best for your pet.

10. Desex your pet

In five years, one female dog and its offspring can produce approximately 20,000 puppies and in only two years, one female cat and its offspring can produce approximately 20,000 kittens! (Source: RSPCA NSW).  Unwanted puppies and kittens are one of many reasons you should desex your cat or dog. Desexing your pet has many health benefits.  Your cat or dog will generally live a longer and healthier life. Your pet can be desexed from two to three months of age.

New Year pet resolutions sources