We realize that we are almost a month into the new year, but now that things have settled, it’s time to get serious about your resolutions. As you prepare to embark on #NewYearNewYou in 2019, don’t leave your four-legged best friend behind! Studies show that having a resolution buddy helps you stay accountable to your plans for self-improvement — and who says your that resolution buddy can’t be your pup? Here are a few of our favorite ways to incorporate your dog into your New Year’s Resolutions:
Get in Shape
If you’re looking to amp up the exercise, that’s a no-brainer. Your dog would undoubtedly love to be involved in getting more steps in your day with longer walks. If you’ve got an active dog, you might be able to skip the gym membership altogether and opt for outdoor runs and hikes with your pup instead. (Pro tip: if you’ve got a senior dog that maybe can’t walk as much, you can get the same benefit — and do good at the same time — by exercising with dogs at Wags & Walks at your local shelter!)
Planning to health-ify your eating habits? Make it a buddy resolution by sharing your healthy fruit and veggie snacks with your pup. It will be a treat for them, and a healthful, whole food substitute for the processed boxed treats. Speaking of which, if you’re feeling really ambitious about your healthy eating resolution, consider adding homemade pet treats to your meal prep plan. Pinterest is full of great recipes that contain just a few nutritious ingredients. Here’s a peanut butter oat one, a pumpkin sweet potato one, and dried banana chews!
Be More Present
We suspect one of the most popular 2019 resolutions in our unceasingly tech-obsessed world will be to cut down on screen time. Given that many of us spend approximately half of our browsing time oohi-ng and aah-ing over cat pics and cute animal videos, pet parents have a real edge with this one. Take advantage of the fact that you have the real deal IRL, and try replacing your phone habit with a pup habit! When you feel the urge to check in social media for the 27th time this afternoon, set your phone on do not disturb for 15 minutes and play with your pup instead. Rather than reverting to your after-work dinner-and-Netflix routine, take your pup to the park.
Resolving to spend more time with family and friends this year? Keep your four-legged family member part of the fun by seeking out dog-friendly activities and destinations. Many breweries and outdoor cafes are dog-friendly, plus you’ve got picnics in the park, camping trips, outdoor movies in the summer — there are sure to be tons of options in your area that a quick Google search can reveal.
Take Care of Yourself Better
And if your plan is to make self-care and tending to your mental health a bigger focus this year, it’s your dog to the rescue once again. Research has shown that spending time with pets reduces anxiety, stress and depression. It’s believed that just looking into your dog’s eyes can trigger the release of oxytocin, a mood-boosting neurochemical. Essentially, science has proven what all dog people already know — that spending time with our pets makes us feel better. Walking in the door to a wagging tail can instantly turn around a grinding workday and hellish commute. So lean into that, and indulge you and your pup in some extra pets, snuggles, and smooches — you’ll both be better off for it.
Happy New Year, from our Wags and Walks’ furry family to yours!