As the final notes of “Auld Lang Syne” become a distant memory, the new year is a time for celebration as much as it’s a time for reflection. We often ask ourselves questions such as, what can we change about ourselves? What can we do differently? One thought that gets lost in the pile of ideas is ways we can make things better for our pets, too. So, in honor of Wondercide’s 15th anniversary happening this year and to kick off 2024, we share with you: 15 ways to usher in health and happiness for you and your pets.
1. Quality Time
We know you don’t have to be convinced to spend time with your pet, but how about even more time. It’s proven that spending quality time with an animal decreases stress and improves mental health. According to the Animal Health Foundation, being around pets is proven to decrease cortisol levels, a hormone produced via stress. Spending time with a pet is also known to lessen anxiety, depression, and lower blood pressure. A study that was conducted among hospital patients with heart disease found that being around dogs decreased a patient’s blood pressure by 10%. Spending that extra hour with your pup could allow you to stick around a little bit longer.
A reliable way to stay healthy this year is to take your pup out for a stroll. Whether you choose a local neighborhood path or venture into the wilderness, slipping some exercise into your schedule will keep you and your furry friend in good shape with high spirits. According to Neuropsychologist, Amrita Sharma, exercise helps boost serotonin and reduce brain fog, stress, and anxiety. Taking your dog for a walk could literally make you a happier person and give your pet the opportunity to see the world.
3. Find a healthy diet
Eating healthy has proven positive effects on physical and mental health. According to Harvard Health, “Like an expensive car, your brain functions best when it gets only premium fuel.” Eating healthy will nourish your mind and reduce unpleasant emotions such as stress and anxiety. For animals, a nutritious diet will help them grow stronger and stay healthy for longer. Why not tag team healthy eating with your pup and invest in a nutritious alternative to their kibble? There are ample amounts of whole food and homemade options to satisfy your pet and leave them healthy and happy.
4. Tricks and treats
Get creative. Teach an old dog new tricks to expand their repertoire and build the bond you share with them. Teaching a dog tricks beyond sitting and staying will be sure to impress your neighbors and boost your pup’s knowledge. There are plenty of easy skills you can teach your furry pal to spice up the new year. All that’s required is determination and a few treats.
5. De-bug your life
Nothing would make your pet happier than to be rid of the itching they can’t understand. Appease your pup and your family by exterminating the unwanted pests this year with Wondercide’s Flea & Tick collars, sprays, and spot ons. Wondercide offers plant-powered products that are proven to work and come in a variety of soothing aromas such as peppermint, rosemary, lemongrass, and cedarwood. Say bye-bye to fleas, ticks, flies, and other pesky insects. Plus, don’t let those moths chew a hole in your sweater!
6. Dress to impress
Nothing boosts the serotonin levels like an adorable photoshoot with your fur baby. Dress to the nines with matching outfits to make you and your pet feel classy. As long as you veer away from anything that makes them uncomfortable or covers their ears or face, this is a surefire way to add some pizazz to the new year.
If you’re a pet owner with the love language of gift giving, don’t hold back on surprising your little friend with some new toys that will entertain them and bring joy to the whole family. A tug-of-war toy creates the perfect two-person game between you and your pup, or you can go the athletic route and toss around a fun ball to get some exercise together.
A clean animal is a content animal. Treat bath time as spa time, for both of you. Cleanliness has been proven to improve mental health and reduce stress. For your dog and cats, this peppermint shampoo is powered by nature and lab proven to kill fleas and ticks. It works and smells great.
9. Sleep, sleep, sleep, repeat
A good night's sleep can work wonders, but if your pet is restless, you’ll be restless too. Find the perfect, comfortable sleeping space for your furry friend, and try out different sleeping options. Some animals prefer to sleep in things rather than on beds. If you have a cat that prefers to shelter away when it’s time for lights out, experiment with different options that allow for alternative sleeping arrangements. Getting to know your pet’s individual needs can work wonders for your whole family’s sleep schedule.
10. Make Friends
Interactions and interpersonal connections are’t just ways that humans find comfort and happiness. If you know your pup loves to play with other four-legged creatures, venture into the local dog park to give them some quality dog-to-dog time. It’s important to find other pet parents to bond with when you have an especially social animal so they can enjoy play dates and you can enjoy a new friend.
11. Regular Check-Ups
Prioritize health by scheduling regular veterinary check-ups. Preventive care is crucial for early detection of any potential health issues. These check-ups also offer an opportunity to discuss your pet’s diet, behavior, and lifestyle, ensuring they're on the right track for a healthy year. The same goes for humans – schedule all of your check ups, even if they’re a year in advance.
12. Mental Stimulation
Just like humans, pets need mental stimulation to stay sharp and content. Consider puzzle toys, training sessions, or new games that challenge their minds. This not only keeps them engaged but can also strengthen the bond between you and your pet.
13. Safe Outdoor Adventures
When it’s not negative 20 degrees outside, get out in the great outdoors. With dogs, this might mean hiking or visiting trails. For indoor pets like cats, consider a well-secured outdoor enclosure or supervised time in a safe, enclosed area. Experiencing nature can be incredibly enriching for them.
14. Relaxation and Calming Techniques
Learn and practice relaxation techniques with your pets. This could include gentle pet massages, creating a calm and quiet environment, or using pet-safe aromatherapy. These practices can help reduce anxiety and stress in pets, especially those who are prone to nervousness, and it does wonders for humans, too.
15. Community Involvement
Engage in community activities with your pet. This could mean participating in pet-friendly events, joining pet owner groups, or even volunteering together at animal shelters. It's a great way to socialize, meet like-minded people, and give back to the community, enhancing the sense of purpose and joy for both you and your pet.
We hope this list has inspired you to welcome in this new and exciting year with your favorite furry friends in the best way possible. There are so many ways to treat yourself and your pet at the same time so you can create the perfect year of health and happiness while tightening that special bond you have with your animal.