The New Year brings about a fresh opportunity to reprioritize the important things in life, and to focus on positive changes. Since most of us are preoccupied with thinking about our fitness or budgetary goals, or professional milestones, we often forget to consider the relationships in our lives, both with other humans and with our pets. While there is an abundance of advice about how to invest in your friendships and love life, we will leave that to other authorities. Here are a handful of useful resolutions that pet-owners can add to their life to strengthen the bond they share with their dog or cat.

Though you may not apply ALL of these resolutions to your lifestyle, by just incorporating one or two of these below tips, the quality of your pet’s life will dramatically improve.

Improve your pet’s nutrition. If you have done your research by now you should know just how damaging poor nutrition can be for a pet. While you are thinking about food cleanses you want to do, or changes you want to make to your diet, do the same for your dog. If your body is going to benefit from “going 100% organic” than give your pet the same treatment with high-quality pet food from companies like Wysong Pet Food. (YES we love this company, simply because we’ve yet to find a more balanced and nutritious list of ingredients in any dog or cat food product line. Check out one example of the ingredients in a Wysong Pet Food product, and consider pampering your pet with one of the best gifts you can give: good health.)

Implement portion control. How much food are you giving your cat or dog? Kick off the New Year by measuring consistent portions so your pet will maintain a healthy weight. Similarly, consider what kind doggy or kitty treats you are routinely rewarding your pet with. Try switching to dehydrated meats, or grilled chicken to help give them clean foods instead of highly sweetened or artificially flavored goodies.

Delve into dental hygiene. Let’s face it, MOST pet parents skip the daily tooth brushing regime, but this is an enormous mistake! Countless health problems stem from tooth decay, gum disease and other oral hygiene issues. Your pet will be more likely to enjoy a long, healthy life if you devote 2-5 minutes a day brushing teeth.

Set a training goal. If you have been annoyed with your pup for several months about some frustrating behavior, stop complaining and do something about it. Set a goal of working 15 minutes a day with your pet to help teach them the proper etiquette of what you expect in your home. There are many helpful training tips that should help point you in the right direction!

Incorporate regular quality time. Cats and dogs need “face time” with their owner more than we think. A lack of attention and constructive play time has a negative effect on their emotional and mental well-being, and by simply spending 15-20 minutes of play time, fetch, games, grooming or even just petting them will help enormously.

Set a date for a checkup. If you haven’t taken your cat or dog to the vet for their annual check up in a long time, start the new year by reinstating this routine. Avoid future health problems by finding out if there is any change that should be made to their diet, exercise regime, or pet care by meeting with a medical professional. It is always better to be safe than sorry!

Take a getaway bonding trip. When the Christmas holidays have passed, some find it helpful to set their sights on their next break or weekend getaway. Instead of paying for a dog or cat sitter, considering planning a vacation that could include your furry pal. There are plenty of hotels that welcome small pets, as well as well as vacations and events centered around fun activities for dogs and their owners. This will be a great opportunity to relax and reconnect with the animal you adore!

Personal pet-owner challenge: Find room for a foster pet. If there is anything that the holidays ought to remind Americans of, is that we are blessed with more provisions than most people in the world. Challenge yourself and consider, do you maybe have room in your home to care for a foster pet? Is there any chance that you might be able to add just another canine or feline bundle of joy to your home? There are so many reasons to foster a pet and one great way to grow as an individual is to make room for others in your life, and give back to society.

What other ways do you intend to improve and grow in the New Year? We would love to hear ideas and feedback from our pet-loving community!