The end of the year doesn’t just mean the holidays and all the special meals, treats, and gifts that go with it. Many of us are taking time to reflect on the past year and think about goals and resolutions for the new year. For some, that means eating healthier, regular exercise, or learning a new skill.
While we might all have lofty ambitions for the new year, an article from Inc. last January says 80% of us will abandon our plans by the second week in February. Many of us will even tap out by January 19th, which is unoficially known as “quitters day”.
While there are plenty of tips out there for helping to make resolutions stick, we have one you may not have thought of: Enlisting your furry friend to help you out! Your dog might be your secret weapon for helping you achieve your resolutions this year. We’ve broken down ways your pup can help by goal.
If you resolve to get more active & fit this year
Your dog might be just the companion to help you. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Studies have shown that the bond between people and their pets can increase fitness, lower stress, and bring happiness to their owners.” Pet owners often have:
- Decreased blood pressure
- Decreased cholesterol levels
- Decreased triglyceride levels
- Decreased feelings of loneliness
- Increased opportunities for exercise and outdoor activities
- Increased opportunities for socialization
So if you’re looking to get more active, make plans with your pup. These can include longer walks or jogs, hiking or participating in a dog sport. Agility is a great choice for fitness as you’ll be running the course with your pup! If you or your pup is new to fitness or coming back after a break be sure to get the okay from your doctor and their vet before starting your new exercise program.
If you need something a little more gentle, try a yoga class. Your pup can join you on your mat or might just enjoy keeping you company while you work out. You won’t want to miss your practice or risk disappointing your dog!
If you resolve to eat healthier
There are lots of “human” foods you can share with your pup that have health benefits for you both. Lean proteins like chicken, fish, and beef are good for both of you. So are fresh vegetables like steamed or sauteed spinach, broccoli, green beans, and carrots. While you can dress these up with fresh herbs you shouldn’t add too much fat or salt to the mix. Consider trying some new recipes that both you and your dog can enjoy. A piece of grilled salmon and broccoli with rice is a delicious and nutritious lunch you can both enjoy. Bone broth with some chicken breast, carrot and parsley might be just the think on a cold winter day - serve yours with a salad if you like.
You want to keep your portion sizes appropriate so your pup doesn’t overindulge. If either of you has food allergies, stick to minimally processed foods and always read labels before trying anything new.
If your pup is in need of losing or gaining a few pounds this year, we are happy to help! When you sign up for your Ollie subscription we ask for detailed information about your pet’s age, breed, current and ideal weight and activity level so we can design the best meal plan for them. It is important that you consult your vet if your pet is over- or under-weight as well.
If you resolve to learn a new skill
If you want to learn something new with your dog, consider trick training. It’s a fun, indoor activity that will engage you both mentally and physically. You can enlist a trainer for a virtual session or browse the AKC website and YouTube for additional ideas.
Start slow and keep the Evil Knevil style jumps through a flaming hoop to the pros -- you can however teach your pup to go through a hula hoop or balance on a small table!
If you have kids, feel free to get them in on the action. Challenge yourselves to come up with a performance involving the entire family.
If you resolve to make time to meditate
While your pup probably won’t meditate with you, they might help you find your inner calm. Try meditating while your pup naps near you (or even in your lap). Their steady breathing (or snoring) might help you stay present and quiet your mind. You can pair this with your favorite meditation app like Calm or Headspace.
If you resolve to read more books
Like meditation, we doubt your pup will join in your reading, but may be a great companion. Allow your pup to join you on the couch or sit in their own bed by you while you read. Even if you aren’t actively engaging with your dog, this still counts as some quality bonding time.
If you have children who are struggling with reading, having them practice with a pup can be very helpful. A study conducted by the veterinary school at UC Davis on the effectiveness of a program called “Reading to Rover” uncovered that “75 percent of the parents reported that their children read aloud more frequently and with greater confidence after the study was completed.” If you don’t have a dog, many libraries and some animal shelters offer programs where children can read to dogs.
While 2020 may have changed how we think about goals and plans for the time being, we at Ollie hope you will consider taking on a resolution with your four legged best friend next year. Whether you choose something from our list or simply resolve to make more time for fun we wish you and your family, both two and four legged a very happy and healthy new year!
The Ollie blog is devoted to helping pet parents lead healthier lives with their pups. If you want to learn more about our fresh, human-grade food, check out MyOllie.com.