– As published in the Newport Daily New
Hello friends – Tuki here wishing you a Happy New Year from my perch at the Potter League! I hope you all had lots of fun and got lots of treats during the holidays!
I’ve been listening to people talk about New Year’s resolutions and it got me thinking. Maybe there are some resolutions you can share with your pets! Based on what I hear, some resolutions are pretty popular and are good for pets and their pet parents!
- Get more exercise. This seems to be a resolution I hear everyone making for the new year – and some people made it last year, too! I wonder why they would need to do it again this year?! An easy way to do this is to take more walks with your pet. Of course, this works best if you have a dog but, making sure your cat, hamster, or bird (like me!) gets exercise is just as important. One way to do this is to play with your pet – this works for all kinds of pets! Most dogs I know like to play catch or tug with a rope toy, and cats like to chase and pounce on things. I know one cat who likes to chase the beam of a flashlight – even though he never catches it! Hamsters and birds need time outside their cages to get some exercise and explore the world. Most hamsters like to run on a wheel but, giving them time outside the cage in a hamster playpen with some toys is fun and interesting for them. Al though we birds have perches and swings in our cages, you can bring those outside the cage too – we all like a little variety in our exercise routine!
- Eat healthy foods. During the holidays everybody, pets included, has a few extra treats (even I like a nice dried fruit treat once in a while!) but when the new year starts, we all want to start eating better. Just like you, your pets need a balanced diet to keep them healthy, but that balance is different for different kinds of pets. The best thing to do is to check with your pet’s veterinarian about the best type and amount of food for your pet. And remember, eating healthy doesn’t mean no treats at all – just treats in moderation!
- Try something new. This is a good resolution because it’s usually the most fun! Just like you, pets are curious and like learning new things. Unfortunately, we can’t go to school so our pet parents need to teach us new things to keep our minds sharp and prevent us from getting bored. Because when pets are bored, we sometimes find things to do that get us into trouble! For dogs, there are activities like agility and Frisbee (which also helps with the getting exercise resolution!) but new toys and games are just as interesting. Food puzzle toys are fun – and you can make your own by hiding food under some plastic cups for your dog to find. You can also use treats for this but remember, just in moderation! Cats like to climb so a cat tree is a good thing to have and if you put it near a window, your cat watch the outside world – which I’m told they love to do, although I think they are trying to get outside and chase my bird cousins! As I mentioned before, cats like to chase and pounce so you can tie a toy to a string for your cat to chase. And all cats love to hide in a box or a paper bag – this is mostly for pouncing since they will likely pounce on you when you walk by! Hamsters like to burrow so you can shred some paper towels into a box for burrowing and use the paper towel rolls to make an obstacle course for your hamster to run through. We birds like to forage so a food-finding game can work for us too – put some food under a cup or small box for us to find – just like a treasure hunt! We are very industrious as well so you can teach us to pick up our toys and put them in a bowl or basket – we really love that!
- Take better care of ourselves. You pet parents want us around as long as possible so you need to make sure we are healthy. All these resolutions will help but, we need to see a doctor sometimes just like you do – although we should probably see a veterinarian and not a pediatrician or internist! Dogs and cats should see the vet at least once a year to make sure they are healthy and all their vaccinations are up to date. We birds and hamsters don’t need to see the vet as often but it is a good idea to take us when we are first adopted so you can be sure we are healthy and talk to the vet about how to take care of us. Dogs and cats need to have their teeth brushed regularly, and we birds need lots of chew toys to keep our beaks healthy. After all, we need our teeth and beaks to eat!
I hope these resolution suggestions help you have a happy and healthy New Year!