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Ways pets can make New Year's goals stick

LOS ANGELES – A new year means a time for new resolutions. The good news is that there is somebody nearby who might be able to help you reach those 2023 goals: your dog or cat. Furry friends can provide people with the necessary motivation to keep their goals for 2023 on the right track.

Best Friends Animal Society, a leading animal welfare organization working to end the killing of cats and dogs in America's shelters by 2025, is highlighting some ways pets can help people reach and maintain some of the most popular New Year's resolutions.

Work out with a furry fitness buddy.

Have an active dog? Then they also have a personal trainer.

Walking at a vigorous pace for just 30 minutes, five times a week can provide the moderately intensive cardiovascular exercise most physicians recommend.

Some cats like to go for walks on a leash and harness or in a stroller. If a pet owner is unsure how their kitty would feel about it, do some research online to find the safest ways to introduce walking or strolling into your routine.

Decrease stress with a downward dog or cat.

Spending quality time with your pets has been shown to lessen anxiety, lower blood pressure and boost the immune system, health benefits many people can use.

How can people make the most of the all-natural stress relief? Try a 15-minute meditation break with a cat or dog. Sit with a pet in a quiet, comfortable place. Focus on being present, breathing deeply and petting the dog or cat. Another option is to break out a yoga mat and do some poses with a pet, which will not only ease stress, but also provide a gentle workout.

Eat better.

After enjoying the holidays many are looking to eat healthier. This year, swap out fatty, sweet or salty treats and start sharing some good-for-you snacks with a pet.

Dogs can eat raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds, as well as produce like watermelon, blackberries, cranberries, blueberries, bananas, apple slices and baby carrots. Steer clear of grapes and raisins, which can be toxic. Cats can get in on the fun, too. Felines can enjoy fish like salmon or mackerel, plain boiled chicken and even a bit of cheese or egg.

Just keep in mind that only 10% of a pet's daily calories should come from treats. Check with a veterinarian on which foods are appropriate for a pet.

Make new friends and keep the old, too.

Get outside and meet new people with a pet. They are natural ice breakers. and people are sure to meet like-minded people who want to share stories about their own pets.

Don't have a pet?

The new year can be a good time to adopt or foster a new best friend. National data trends show that 2022 has been a tough year for shelters. Across the country, shelters are struggling with higher intake, while adoptions, fosters and rescues are not keeping pace. It has led to a population imbalance, with more animals in shelters staying for longer periods, causing increased strain on shelter staff and the current shelter crisis. With most U.S. shelters at or over capacity, pets are more at risk for being killed due to lack of space.

To get started, visit and find a local shelter or rescue where a pet is waiting.

Submitted by Best Friends Animal Society.


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