The New Year makes a great time to kickstart a new plan for living healthier and feeling fabulous. But what about making a resolution for your pets? As you turn over a new leaf, consider some small ways to help your furry companions get in the best shape of their lives.
Walking your pet outdoors in the winter can be exhilarating, but can have some unwelcome health effects. According to Janet Tobiassen Crosby, DVM of AboutVetMed.com, sidewalks that have been de-iced can potentially cause dry and painful paws. This will cause pets to lick their paws of the de-icing agent, leading to upset stomach and other gastrointestinal irritation. Washing your pet’s feet with a warm wet cloth can both help them get toasty and clean off any accumulated salt or ice. If the pads of your pet’s feet are fairly hairy, trimming away some of that can help prevent snow and salt from collecting. Consider pet boots if your dog will tolerate them.

Wintertime Fitness 
If inclement weather keeps you indoors, rethink your pet exercise routine. Coming up with new and clever ways to work out with your pet is easy. Make a game out of doing the laundry or shoveling snow. Chase your pet from room to room or “walk” your pets around the house by leading them with a treat. Instead of holding dumbbells to do butterfly curls, twists and other arm extensions, hold a pet toy. Reach out as far as you can with the toy, encouraging your pet to run from side to side for the toy as you stretch and tone your body.
Making special spaces for your pets to play can be key in helping them get fit. Spare rooms can serve as a perfect pet haven. Set up climbing posts and other lounging perches for cats to climb and play on. If you keep your dog kenneled during the day, consider setting up a pen in a room, instead, offering more room for the dog to walk around and play.
With the new year, making a commitment to help your pets look and feel their best is a great way to invigorate your own resolution to be fabulous in 2011. Working out with your pet can help you bond and can really make your workout time more fun. Keeping your pet healthy as temperatures plummet may require a little extra attention, but the results can be a long and happy life for your four-legged friend.

Posted on 2011-04-06 by Amanda Harper