7 New Year’s Resolutions — For Me and My Pets

Another new year has arrived, and I’d like to share a few of my resolutions with you. I’m turning over a new leaf not only for me but for my pets as well. Are you?

2013 New Year's resolutions for your pets
What are your New Year’s resolutions for your pets?

It’s a new year, and that means New Year’s resolutions. Here are seven of my own for 2013 — and of course they include my pets.

What are your New Year’s resolutions for your pets?

1. Tackle the Teeth!

I know, teeth are my new crusade. This year I promise to meditate for at least 60 seconds a day, and spend at least the same amount of time on each pet’s mouth.

2. Weight Loss

For me and for ZeeZee. I promise to shed five pounds. Maybe seeing myself in fewer clothes in sunny Florida for four days will make me so grossed out by myself that I’ll keep my resolution. Just as important is getting a few pounds off ZeeZee.

Uh-oh. Is the 3-year-old OG the cat hulking up a bit too? Kittenhood is over. I need to monitor what he eats.

3. Walk More

Wow, this fits into the weight loss thing. How convenient. Now, JUST DO IT. Even in the frigid temps of January, I promise to get out with those dogs for an additional walk each day. No excuses. Days are longer now. Life is shorter!

4. Relax With the Furries

Okay, so I’m done with the walk. I can’t feel my nose on my face even though it’s dripping and I forgot the almighty tissues. Good thing I remembered the poop bags because evil Mrs. Hissyfit saw Zee take a dump by her mailbox.

Now, nothing helps more to ease the craziness of modern-day life than a half-hour near the fire petting a furry friend. This lowers everyone’s blood pressure — a win/win situation for all.

5. Now Get Off the Couch and Play With Me!

How many times a day does Wally look at me with that forlorn face, a tiny tail wag and a stuffed animal in his mouth? “Mom, throw my favorite ratty toy with a sick-sounding squeaker! NOW!”

Setting a little time aside for play gives your pets needed stimulation, particularly in the winter. If you’re working on any behavior problems with your dog, organized play can be an additional training tool to make them focus on you and be attentive.

Play time with cats takes a little more creativity. You know when you’re waving around that thing on a wand you impulsively bought at Christmas and your cat is looking at you like you’re something out of The Hobbit?

Don’t give up. Try again later when the cat is mischievously looking out the window. Maybe he just left the litter box and is feeling a pound lighter. Now might be the time that overpriced cat toy seems like money well spent.

6. Buy New Pet Bowls

Stainless steel pet bowl
Stainless steel is an excellent choice.

Not only does this cheer me up, but it’s healthy too. I always walk by those cute pet items in T.J. Maxx and say, “Nah, I don’t need that.”

But here’s a good reason to spend a few bucks on new pet bowls: Bad bacteria can live despite dishwasher cleaning. If your pet’s bowls aren’t washed as frequently as our own dishes, it’s not a bad idea to buy new ones. Check out the pet bowl selection at the Pets Adviser Shop.

Remember my post about cats needing lots of fresh water as well as canned food? Put some new fresh water dishes in different areas of the house. For reasons only your cat can explain, she has preferences about where the water bowls are and what they look like. Experiment.

Ditch the plastic. There’s evidence to suggest some cats may suffer from certain skin conditions and allergies because of plastic bowls. Replace with ceramic or metal.

7. Please Groom Me!

flea comb
This flea comb also works for cats.

Okay, I never CHOSE Cocker Spaniels; they were foisted upon me! So I need to do more brushing between baths and clips.

The cats? I need to use those flea combs I have stashed in various drawers. I like flea combs for general grooming of short-haired cats. Not only is it a continual check for those pesky insects, but it stimulates the kitty.

Long-haired cats, meanwhile, need a real grooming comb or brush. And keep on top of those mats!

What About 8, 9, 10?

I know a “Top 10″ list is the norm, but I’m quitting at seven. I don’t want to get overwhelmed.

In this world of good and bad, tragedy and miracles, my biggest New Year’s resolution is to slow down and cherish the small beauties in life. Whether you’re a workaholic or a little lonely, spread too thin or looking for more enrichment, if you’re reading Pets Adviser, you love your pets. So look no further than Kansas, Dorothy! There’s no place like home to enjoy your cats, dogs, birds, ferrets, bunnies, etc.

Enrich everyone’s life. Remember their teeth; get them in shape; walk with them; relax with them; play with them; groom them. (No, you can’t quit your job and just be with your pets. They need your income so you can buy them stuff.)

Hug your pet today. I don’t think there’s a more prescient image of canine comfort than the service Golden Retrievers that arrived in Newtown, Connecticut, from Illinois to help ease the pain. Take refuge in the peace and contentedness your pets can give you.

Happy New Year. Peace on earth.

Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD

View posts by Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD
Dr. Debora Lichtenberg, VMD, is a small animal and exotics veterinarian who has split her time between a veterinary practice in Pelham, Massachusetts, and her studio in New York City. Dr. Lichtenberg is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine with 30 years of experience. Her special interests are soft tissue surgery and oncology.

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