For pet parents, it’s become a tradition to include our furry friends in our Christmas or Hanukkah gift lists. But there’s another list we can add them to at the same time – our list of New Year’s Resolutions. That’s what we pet parents at Live the Pet Life have been doing. So let’s share our New Year’s Resolutions for our pets with you, in case you’re looking for a little inspiration:

#1: Spend more time with our pets

Pets get bored and miss their humans when they’re either gone all or part of the day or laser-focused on getting through their busy schedules. So resolution number one is to spend more time with our cats and dogs and to give them more mental and physical stimulation. For dog parents, that could include visiting new off-leash dog parks where our pooches can make new buddies; trying out new exercise activities together such as bike riding; and taking road trips and either camping out overnight or staying in pet-friendly hotels.

For cat parents who have indoor kitties, that means making our homes more like a kitty playground with climbing structures, dens and hideouts we either buy or make ourselves (check these sites for tips). It also means sitting on the floor and actively using cat toys to make our kitties jump and run around – aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day.

#2: Don’t let them put on weight

It’s not only humans who are getting heavier – our pets are too! The beginning of the year is a good time to take our pets to the vet for their annual checkup (more on this in our next post), which should include a weight check. If your pet needs to lose a few pounds, discuss weight-loss strategies with your vet, such as switching to a “light” version of their foods; eliminating treats, and measuring the amount of food you put into their bowl according to the instructions on the kibble package or pet food can, instead of just guessing.

As 2017 progresses, it’s important to continue to weigh your pet regularly. If you have a big dog, you can stop by your vet clinic to use their scales, but if you can comfortably hold your dog or cat, you can weigh them right at home with your bathroom scale. First weigh yourself alone on the scale, then weigh yourself holding your pet. His weight is the difference between the two.

Keep your vet up to date on your pet’s weight progress, too. They can provide additional weight loss suggestions if needed.

#3: Make time for regular grooming sessions

Brush hair. Trim nails. Check eyes and ears. Clean teeth. Grooming is the easiest first step to keeping your pet healthy. That’s why we have so many grooming tips on our blog. The challenge can be in finding the time or remembering to do them. The resolution for 2017? Set up reminders on your phone so you get daily alerts to clean your pet’s teeth and weekly alerts to brush their fur (although pets with longer hair may need more frequent brushing), trim their nails if needed, and check their overall health. A little investment of time up front can go a long way here.

#4: Talk more to our dogs and cats

Our pets talk to us. And, it turns out, they listen too. A study published earlier this year found that dogs understand the meaning of words and the tone we use when we talk to them. And even though your cat acts aloof, she too can understand. So chat to your pets as often as you can – they prefer you use your “praising” voice – and your bond will grow even stronger.

We hope you found some inspiration in our resolutions, and we wish you and your pets a Happy New Year!

What New Year’s resolutions are you making this year for your pets? Tell us in the comments below.