Tonawanda News

Features

December 31, 2012

Resolutions can help pets, too

(Continued)

Tonawanda News — Exercising your pet in larger areas, rather than a postage stamp backyard, would be equally enriching and healthy. Indoor-only pets can be run around the house, utilizing feathers on strings, perch placement and laser pointers. Building endurance should not be overlooked.

Half of our dogs and cats are overweight in the United States. This can affect their quality of life and how long they will be with us. In addition to exercise, eating healthy is the second part of the equation.

This year, making a pledge to not feed table scraps to pets, would be a pledge in the right direction. This will also reduce those pesky begging behaviors around the dinner table, like rubbing on the legs and jumping up on the table.

Longer play sessions and walks are a great start. Foraging toys, like boomer balls, are also able to keep a pet mind occupied, rather than eating out of boredom. Moving the food dishes a few feet every day could also keep your pets on the move. Moving the food bowls away from their usual lounging spot, is an easy way to promote mobility.

Engaging your pet ten minutes, two times a day, should be a reachable resolution. Keeping track of your progress is very important. I like to have the monthly calendar on the refrigerator. Writing down every tiny action to better health will allow you to see visually the progress you have made.

Baby steps are also a more reliable way to keep you and your pet’s resolutions for 2013. If both you and your pet are trying to diet, being each other’s distraction is a way to avoid the pantry. If you are feeling those 2 p.m. blues, don’t grab a snack, play a game with your pet. Smokers usually hang out with smokers, snackers with foodies and healthy people hang out with healthy people. If you want to exercise more or eat better, then do it with a friend. And since our furry, feathered and scaly friends are humankind’s best friend, we are in luck.

Cheers to 2013.

Kenny Coogan has a B.S. in animal behavior. Please email your questions to birdbehaviorconsultant@yahoo.com, or search for "Critter Companions by Kenny Coogan" on Facebook.

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