It’s the New Year, and with this comes a desire to make some resolutions as you look to better yourself and your health in the coming year. If you are a pet owner, why not make some New Year’s resolutions that include your pet? Make 2015 the best year yet for your pet with these pet health New Year’s resolutions.

1. Get Your Pet in Shape

Did you know that around half of all of today’s pets are overweight? Weight has a tremendous impact on pet health. Whether your pet is part of that statistic or not, make 2015 the year that you ensure that your pet stays at a healthy weight. There are two main ways to do this.

First, take a look at what your pet is eating. Do you leave food out all day for your pet to graze on, or do you limit the amount of food you serve? Free feeding encourages overeating and eating while bored. Instead, feed your pet the amount recommended by your vet two times a day. After 20 minutes, remove uneaten food. Your pet will not go hungry, and you will notice that after a few days he starts gobbling up that food quickly when it is put out.

Next, consider the amount of exercise your pet gets. All pets have different exercise needs, depending on their weight, health age and breed. Talk to your vet about the amount of exercise your pet needs, but make sure you are providing enough.

2. Resolve to Make Dental Hygiene a Priority

How are your pet’s teeth? Pets need dental care just like humans. If your pet’s teeth are in poor shape, make a resolution that this is the year you will visit the vet for a dental checkup. If your pet’s teeth are doing great, make a resolution that you will keep them that way.

You can do your part to help at home too. Make sure you are providing your pet with regular tooth brushing at home. If you are not in the habit of doing this, your pet may resist at first. Make the experience positive with much praise and plenty of treats, and you will soon find that it’s a task both of you look forward to.

3. Invest in Some Training

How is training going with your pet? While all pets can benefit from training, dogs especially need training to ensure that they are well-behaved members of your family. Make a resolution that 2015 is the year that you make dog training a true priority.

Training is good for both of you. Your pet will enjoy having the mental stimulation and bonding time that training sessions provide. Also, bad habits, like digging, chewing and barking, can easily be helped with the right training. In the end, you will have a well-mannered, well-trained pet that is a joy to have in your family, and you may have fun teaching a few new behaviors too.

If you are in need of professional training, talk to your veterinarian about training options near you. Not all training programs are created equal, so you will want to find a quality trainer that will give you and your pet the positive experience you both desire.

4. Keep Your Pet Identifiable

Is your pet micro-chipped? Does he wear a collar with identification that will get him back to you if he is lost? It only takes a second for a pet to run off and get lost, and without the proper identification, you may not get him back. Even the most mild-mannered pets can be tempted to take off after a squirrel or rabbit, so do what you can to protect your pet this year with proper identification.

Take the time to update contact information if your pet is micro-chipped. If your pet is not micro-chipped, consider having it done. It can mean the difference between getting your pet returned to you if he runs off, and losing him, and the microchip is relatively affordable.

5. Make 2015 the Year of Play

Do you remember why you got your pet in the first place? Chances are you wanted a playmate and companion. Have you forgotten to take the time to play now that you have had your pet for a few years? If so, make a commitment to play in 2015.

At first, if your life is busy, you may need to schedule this time, but it will be well worthwhile if you do. Soon both you and your pet will be looking forward to your daily play time. As a side benefit, you will both get emotional and physical benefits as you engage in relaxing play, which doubles as physical activity for both of you.

Do you have other ideas about how you can improve your pet’s health and well-being in the coming year? Come to our clinic to discuss your pet health New Year’s resolution ideas with our veterinary staff, and let us help you make 2015 the best year for your pet’s health!