Boost your pet’s happiness and strengthen your bond with these five new year’s resolution from a vet technician

Woman hugging dog and cat
(Image credit: Getty Images)

If you're anything like most pet parents, ensuring your fur friend stays happy and healthy is likely high on your priority list. 

And while spending quality time with your pet playing with the best interactive cat toys or the best puppy toys is a great start, there are lots of other things you can do to make sure your beloved bundle of fluff has everything they need to thrive. 

While any time of year is a great time to prioritize your pet's health and wellbeing (and strengthen your bond in the process), there's something about a new year that presents a wonderful opportunity to set some goals that will ensure you and your dog or cat live your best life together. 

To help you do just that, vet technician Tabitha Kucera has put together a list of five simple New Year's resolutions you can make that will ensure your pet thrives in 2024. Let's take a look...

1. Teach your pet something new using positive reinforcement: While some breeds will have more of a natural thirst for learning than others, all dogs and cats benefit from learning something new.

"Clicker training in particular is a fun, easy-to-learn way to teach new behaviors, tricks, cooperative care, and more," says Kucera. 

If you want to ensure your pet stays mentally and physically fit and well this year, teaching them a new skill or trick can go a long way towards achieving that. Just remember to use positive reinforcement for dogs and cats in the form of treats, toys, or praise as this will help your fur friend learn in a fun and relaxed way. 

2. Learn more about your pet's body language: Do you know the signs of a happy cat or dog? If not, it's worth familiarizing yourself with them so that you're able to get a good handle on how your pet is feeling each day. Not only will reading your pet's body language give you insight into their mental wellbeing, it can also alert you early on to any physical health issues they may be experiencing. 

3. Add in a new enrichment activity every week: Kucera defines enrichment as "meeting all of an animal's mental, physical, and emotional needs in order to empower them to perform species-typical behaviors in healthy, safe, and appropriate ways."

When it comes to examples of enrichment activities, think puzzle toys for dogs and cats, sniff walks for dogs, window perches for cats, interactive toys and time spent socializing with you or other pets (if your fur friend is comfortable with that). 

4. Schedule a vet visit: "Annual veterinary visits are vital in keeping your animals happy and healthy," says Kucera. If you've ever found yourself asking the question 'is my cat sick?' or 'is my dog sick?', regular vet check ups can help catch any issues early while they're still treatable. 

5. Drink more water: A great tip for humans but also one that applies to our fur friends as well. Drinking enough water each day is vital for ensuring your pet's body can provide all the important functions necessary to stay fit and well.

"Provide multiple and separated water sources," advises Kucera. "Water should be accessible, a minimum of one bowl on every floor. Clean the bowls and provide fresh water often and choose a type of bowl that suits your animal's drinking preferences: many cats prefer a wide and shallow bowl."

You may also need to adapt the above based on your pet's needs. For example, senior dogs and cats may need elevated water bowls to help make drinking more comfortable. 

And if you're keen to build on the resolutions above, here are some clever ways to have more fun with your dog on walks and 32 ways to be the best cat owner

Kathryn Williams
Freelance writer

Kathryn is a freelance writer who has been a member of the PetsRadar family since it launched in 2020. Highly experienced in her field, she's driven by a desire to provide pet parents with accurate, timely, and informative content that enables them to provide their fur friends with everything they need to thrive. Kathryn works closely with vets and trainers to ensure all articles offer the most up-to-date information across a range of pet-related fields, from insights into health and behavior issues to tips on products and training. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with her family (which includes one super sassy cat), drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and reading all the books.