When we think New Year's resolutions we usually think about self-improvement—things like losing weight, sleeping better, or getting organized. But if you're a pet owner, you can use your resolutions to better your cat or dog's life, too. From more bonding time to better mental and physical health, the following 8 resolutions will have you and your pet enjoying a more fruitful and fun 2018 together.

1. Volunteer

Pets bring us so much joy, so why not try returning the favor? Local animal shelters are always in need of volunteers—whether fostering, tidying up, or simply playing with the cats and dogs. Spending just a few hours each week or month giving back to these facilities can make a big difference in the lives of the animals that live there. Who knows, you might just find a new best animal friend, too!

2. Improve Your Pet’s Oral Hygiene

Daily tooth brushing is a big ask we know. But any increase in the frequency at which you brush your cat or dog’s teeth can improve their quality of life (just be sure you’re using cat or dog-specific toothpaste). If you do it once a month now, try adding another day or two in the schedule. We suggest consulting your vet about other steps you can take to better your pet’s oral health—an occasional professional cleaning never hurt either.

3. Teach Your Pet a New Trick

Research has linked inactivity and boredom with reduced cognitive function in older cats and dogs. Combat this by challenging your cat or dog with a new trick. It’s a fun and lighthearted way to bond with your pet and it will help keep their brain healthy, too. If your schedule is a bit tight, try using a puzzle feeder, which your pet can play with when you're not around.

4. Throw Out Those Old Toys

You don’t have to wait till spring to start cleaning out old clutter. In addition to taking up space, old, worn-out pet toys can be a health risk for both people and pets, as they tend to be magnets for germs of all sorts. As 2018 rolls around, throw out the old toys and bring in some new ones. Your pet certainly won’t complain.

5. Introduce Your Pet to a New Activity

They say variety is the spice of life, so spice up you and your pet’s lives by trying out a new activity or hobby together. From hiking to to camping to something as simple as running, introducing your pet to something new and fun is a great way to bond with your best fur buddy. Not only will adopting a new pastime get you both out and about, you might just make some new animal or human friends in the process.

6. Ditch the Harmful Chemicals

From household cleaners to insect repellents, 2018 is a good time to ditch the chemical-laden products in your home for more natural and responsible alternatives. For one, it reduces you, your family and your pets’ exposure to potentially harmful chemicals. For two, it helps lower the negative impact your purchases have on the environment. Everybody wins!

As far as naturally-sourced pesticides go, for personal, home and pet use, we suggest Cedarcide All-Purpose Bug Spray. For outdoor pest control needs, we suggest PCO Choice.

7. Set Up More Playdates

No time is better than the present to socialize your pet with other animals and people. So, try scheduling more playdates in the coming year. Your pet will thank you for the added entertainment, and you’ll appreciate another excuse to get out of the house with your pet in tow.

8. Consider Starting a Pet Savings Fund

Few pet owners are prepared for the additional medical expenses that come with an aging pet. To lessen the burden, consider starting a pet savings fund for your cat or dog (think of it as a college fund for your pet, but for vet visits, surgeries, etc). Preparing for such costs will help ensure you’ll never have to settle when it comes to your cat or dog’s wellbeing.

Corinna Henderson
Tagged: Pets