Tuesday, December 29, 2009 1:03 PM

New Year's Resolutions for Pet Lovers

As much as we love our pets, there is always room for improvement in the ways we understand and care for them. Therefore, with 2009 drawing to a close, I have thought of a few resolutions for the new year that will help both pets and their owners glide through the next year and beyond with less stress, better health and more fun!

Wean your cat off of dry food. If there is just one nutritional improvement you can implement, make it this one. It may take some time, as your cat will complain about this, but stand firm. This type of "food" causes more health problems in cats than anything else, since it so foreign to a cat's metabolism that it sets the stage for other health issues. Want to see urinary problems, skin rashes and dry coat problems disappear? You'll see a difference within 3 months, guaranteed.

Buy only premium canned food. Spend a little more and forgo the "supermarket" brands that are full of dyes, fillers and toxins. Homemade food is really the way to go, but if you can't manage it, this is the next best thing. Supplement with home cooked food (some of your own dinner, perhaps?) and a good daily vitamin. You'll be amazed at the results!

Keep your pet's weight in the normal range. If you follow the above suggestions, your pet's weight will probably not creep up. Dry food creates fat cats, and fat cats don't like to exercise, even if they go outdoors. You won't need to entertain your indoor cats to get them to exercise if they are not overweight. They'll move around plenty, particularly around feeding time (since they won't be snacking all day on dry food).

If you have only one cat or dog, think about getting another. A puppy or kitten will be more acceptable to an adult pet, and there will be an introductory period, no doubt. But everyone wants a pal, and your solitary pet may get lonely while you're at work. Once they get used to each other, you'll wonder why you didn't do this sooner! Some shelters let you bring your pet so that you can "test" applicants to see if they are compatible. I do believe, though, that as long as you introduce them correctly at home, any two animals will be able to co-habitate happily.

If you currently have no pets, now's the time to adopt. If you've been thinking about getting a pet, or yours just recently died, wait no longer. Shelters are full of dogs and cats that need you! Remember, the breaking-in period is much less traumatic when you bring them both (or all) home at once!

Happy New Year! Chat later!

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Amanda has worked with animals for many years and has always had cats in her life. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two excellent cats.
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