8 simple ways to improve your relationship with your pet

8 simple ways to improve your relationship with your pet
Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Jan 22 2015

It’s a new year, and many find themselves looking forward to a fresh start. This is a perfect time to consider these eight easy ways to change your relationship with your pet for the better.

  1. Check your pet’s health records and make sure she’s up-to-date not only on vaccinations, but also on her annual or semi-annual exam. Regular physical exams set a baseline for healthy, young pets and twice a year exams can pick up potential trouble spots for older pets. What’s a better way to strengthen the bond with your pet than ensuring she lives as long as possible?
  2. Exercise together! I cannot stress enough how important exercise is for your pet’s body AND mind. Take a daily walk (or jog) with your dog or trick your cat into running up and down the hall or stairs with a laser pointer. It’ll be good for you, too!
  3. Take a good look at your pet’s food and assess whether or not you could be doing a better job at meal time—both with the quality of your pet’s food and the quantity in the bowl. Obesity in pets is a serious problem, and only you can get your pet back on the right track.
  4. Spend time with your pet. You’re busy—I get that. You have work obligations, and family obligations, and a smart phone that steals your precious few unscheduled minutes. But you also have an obligation to your pet, whose world revolves around YOU. Once the kids are in bed and you’ve sent your last work e-mail, take 10 or 15 minutes to just BE with your pet. Snuggle, groom and love. I guarantee it will make you feel better, too.
  5. Recognize when your pet isn’t feeling well and do something about it. So often, pet owners put off making veterinary appointments for sick pets because they think the illness will just get better. Or maybe they don’t want to hear bad news about a beloved pet. But waiting to seek medical attention just makes it that much harder to get your pet feeling tip-top again. If your pet is sick or painful, address it sooner rather than later.
  6. Set rules for your pet and follow them! This is a big one, especially for youngsters. Your pet needs rules (he actually feels safer with rules!) and he needs you to be consistent. Don’t tell him he can’t get on the couch and then actually let him on the couch when it suits you. This is terribly confusing for a pet. He is either allowed on the couch or not. He will respect your rules (and you) better if you are consistent.
  7. Serve your fellow two- and four-legged citizens together. Consider taking steps to make your pet a therapy pet, thereby enriching the lives of those who are hospitalized or living in a senior community. Make a donation to a local shelter or rescue organization. Donations don’t have to be monetary—food, blankets, litter and your time are all welcome.
  8. Finally, SLOW DOWN. Try living life more like your pet—taking each day as it comes with unrelenting enthusiasm. Play with your pet. Smile with your pet. When you slow down, you have more time to love your pet. And that makes both of your lives better.

Searching for other ways to make this year your pet’s best one yet? Point your paws to our Resolution Solution page for more vet-approved resolutions for a healthy new year.