Man Walking Dog in Snow | Taste of the Wild

Sure, you can resolve to eat less pasta and stop checking your cell phone every 5 minutes.

But do you really have that much self-restraint? Instead of getting that gym membership, why not resolve to make some positive changes in your pet’s life? If you’re not sure what pet resolutions to make, your dog and cat have a few suggestions.

Give us healthier treats. Sure, we gobble up those fake bacon treats. But we both know there isn’t a shred of the real thing in there. And there are healthier alternatives we’ll love just as much.

For cats, consider bite-sized pieces of cooked broccoli, green beans or carrots or small pieces of melon. A teaspoon of canned pumpkin (without the spices) a day can provide extra fiber to help keep us regular.

Most dogs are more than happy to eat crunchy carrots, broccoli, green beans or slices of apple (remove the seeds, which contain cyanide). Keep a container of cooked, cubed sweet potatoes in the fridge or freeze slices of banana to reward us for mastering a new trick.

Start brushing our teeth. It’s not our fault when our breath stinks. Dental disease is one of the most common — yet preventable — conditions in dogs and cats. We can get throbbing toothaches just like you can. We just can’t tell you! Pet toothpaste comes in yummy flavors like poultry and fish. Start with your finger and the toothpaste and gradually work your way up to a brush. If you clean our teeth at home, chances are that we won’t need a professional veterinary dental cleaning as often.

More walks! We’ve got a lot of pent-up energy that’s just waiting to get out. We like to stretch our legs and bark at squirrels and sniff tree stumps more than you know. Plus, walking on cement helps wear down our nails, so you’ll need to clip less often. And those of us of the feline persuasion would seriously like to chase that laser pointer across the room and up over the couch.

Protect us from getting sick. You take your car in for an oil change every few months; don’t we deserve a check-up at least once a year? The nice veterinarian will give us a good once-over and even suggest tests to make sure our organs are working properly. Simple things like regular vaccinations and parasite preventives can help prevent us — and in some cases, everyone in our family — from getting sick.

Keep training us. We like learning new things. We also like to be reminded of the things we learned before and forgot about. Commands like “drop it” and “stay” aren’t just about performing a trick; they’re skills that could actually save our lives. And while we don’t like to admit it, cats can learn, too.

Give us 10 minutes of undivided attention every day. Is that too much to ask? We watch out the window for you to come home, follow you from room to room and curl by your side while you’re watching TV. But we’d give anything just to have you look in our eyes, rub our bellies, toss a toy or just tell us we’re the best.

Those resolutions are just for starters. We’re sure you can think of other ways to make life better for your pets. After all, they make life better for you every day of the year.

The information in this blog has been developed with our veterinarian and is designed to help educate pet parents. If you have questions or concerns about your pet's health or nutrition, please talk with your veterinarian.