Ring in the new year with the right resolutions for your pets

Running with your dog is good for both of you!

If the words “New Year’s resolutions” make you cringe and want to hide, you can skip the rest of this super wonderful article and just look at all of the cute animals available for adoption at AHS right now.

If you’re open to hearing about yet another benefit of pet ownership, keep reading!

For many, the beginning of 2019 marks a big change. If more exercise, less junk food, stress reduction, and subsequent weight loss are a part of your New Year’s resolutions, experts say having an accountability partner can help.

And your accountability partner is likely staring at you as you read this. Yeah, your pet!

Minnesota is home to some of the unhealthiest dogs and cats in the country, according to this Banfield study. If your pet falls into the overweight category, maybe they could use some goal setting just like you!

Lose weight

Need to shed a few pounds?  Start moving. The Mayo Clinic features a great 12-week walking plan from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. If you’re a dog owner, this schedule can be beneficial for both you and your canine companion. And if that walk turns into a run, start searching for dog-friendly 5Ks in the Twin Cities area. Check out this calendar of dog-friendly activities created by our good friends at Sidewalk Dog.

Ok, so you only own cats? You can trim down their extra pounds, too, by training your kitty to walk on a leash. Before you start walking your cat, get them used to wearing a leash and harness. Winter is the perfect time to do that. Indoor cats also need enrichment — when they have nothing to do but eat and sleep, they can grow fat. Cats are hunters and predators by nature, and you can help nurture this natural instinct with toys and games.

We all know that extra pounds on humans can lead to serious health issues, and pets are no different! Read more about how to get your pet to a healthy weight, and stay there.

Eat right

Eating right starts at the grocery store. So while you stand drooling in front of all those lettuce options, don’t forget to put some thought into what you’re feeding your four-legged family members at home, and how much.

You should always measure the amount of food you give your animals. If you pet is food motivated, don’t leave a bowl of food out and available at all times (also called free-feeding). If you’re unsure of what amount is right, your veterinarian will know exactly how much food your pet should be eating. Don’t rely on the recommendations on the back of pet food bags. With indoor cats, it’s even more important — they need less calories for their sedentary lifestyle.

Food puzzles are also great for both dogs and cats. They help stimulate their brains and force them to eat slower. Puzzles gives their little bellies time to digest the food and makes them think about how to get each piece of kibble.

Low calorie weight loss food for both dogs and cats can be a great way to shed the pounds. There are prescription foods for severely obese animals. Ask your vet about it before changing their food.

Your pet can help with your mindfulness goals!


We’ve all heard it: meditation and mindfulness are great for improving sleep and focus, reducing stress and anxiety, providing mental clarity, and so much more. According to Yoga Journal, your pet might be the key to helping you quiet your mind! Next time you’re settling down for the night, give “Petitation” a try. Pet your animal while you meditate, taking a few moments for yourself. You don’t have to do it very long — a few minutes can make a difference!

Your pets are like family, so include them in your goal setting! There’s no better accountability partner than a furry four-legged friend to help improve your health and wellbeing.