Pets can help owners keep their New Year’s resolutions

Resolutions and Rover

By Wesley LeBlanc
Posted 12/30/20

CLAY COUNTY – Sticking to a New Year’s resolutions can be difficult. But your furry friends might be able to help.

Perhaps your resolution deals with losing weight or getting into better …

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Pets can help owners keep their New Year’s resolutions

Resolutions and Rover

Posted

CLAY COUNTY – Sticking to a New Year’s resolutions can be difficult. But your furry friends might be able to help.

Perhaps your resolution deals with losing weight or getting into better shape. Perhaps you’re looking to tackle your social anxiety in the new year with hopes of making new friends. The Best Friends Animal Society, which is a national animal welfare organization focused on making America a no-kill nation by 2025, recommends using your dog or cat to help you achieve these goals.

“It’s that time of the year again when many of us start making New Year’s resolutions,” the society said. “After a tumultuous 2020, it may be more imperative than ever to strive for a physical, mental and emotional balance. The good news is that there is someone who might be able to help you reach those goals who’s closer than you think: your dog or cat.”

Clay County Animal Services program coordinator Courtney Sumner said dogs and cats are excellent partners for New Year’s resolutions. She said not only are they great for exercising, but they can serve as great reminders of what you should and shouldn’t eat, and they can help you tackle issues related to social anxiety by way of a dog’s general nature.

“Dogs kind of force you into social situations,” Sumner said. “They don’t mean to do it, but when they see strangers, they might take you in that direction and all of a sudden you’re speaking to a stranger about your dog, what kind of dog they are and more. You might not realize it, but that’s probably helping your social anxiety. You're talking to someone new and the comfort of your dog is helping make that go smoothly.”

She said taking your dog to a park is a great way to continue tackling social anxiety. You can meet other pet owners, and your own dog will get to make some new friends as well.

“By nature of owning a dog, you’ll find yourself in a lot of social situations you might not otherwise find yourself in and if, say your resolution is to be more social, your dog will help make that happen.”

That’s not all pets are good for, especially dogs. If your goal is to lose weight or get into better shape, walking your dog is a great place to start. Dogs should be walked often because they need exercise just like humans. If you’re walking your dog every day, you’ll start to see the pounds drop, according to the society. If you’re the kind of dog owner that feeds your dog a BBQ chip or two while you’re eating some as a snack, try adjusting your snack intake to be more-healthy for you and your furry friend.

“This year, swap out fatty, sweet or salty treats and start sharing some good-for-you snacks with your pet,” the society said. “Dogs can eat raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds, plus produce like watermelon, blackberries, cranberries, blueberries, bananas, apple slices and baby carrots.”

Sumner said to consult with your veterinarian to determine your dog’s dietary needs, but healthy snacks are a great place to start. She said to be mindful of the snacks we perceive as healthy because not all are OK for dogs to eat. Grapes and raisins, for example, can be toxic to pets.

“You’d be surprised how integrated a dog can be in your New Year’s resolution plans,” Sumner said. “They require the exercise, healthy diet and social time you do so why not do that together?”

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