No raiding the fridge in 2017.

Get an annual exam
Visits to the veterinarian shouldn’t just be made when a pet is injured or sick. Annual wellness exams can help detect problems in their early stages, at which point they’re more likely to be treated and resolved with less expense and better success. Regular exams can also help doctors establish what is and isn’t normal. Has the pet gained or lost weight? Have blood work values changed? Without annual exams, it’s hard to tell. An annual vet visit is also a time to become current on vaccines. If your pets haven’t seen a vet recently, commit to having an annual exam done in the next year.

Get regular exercise and play-time
Obesity in cats and dogs is on the rise, according to 2012 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, now affecting over fifty percent of our pets. Excess weight can cause orthopedic and cardiorespiratory issues for pets, as well as make it more difficult for veterinarians to diagnose and treat potential medical problems. Regular walks for dogs and active play for cats, in conjunction with a good diet, can help your pet keep off those extra pounds. Regular exercise also helps keep their minds alert and active.

Learn good behavior
Whether learned in an outside program or at home, training can help keep your dog safe in certain situations. For example, learning a command such as “leave it” can help prevent dogs from eating things that may be toxic to them. Leash obedience also helps in interactions with passing pets and people. A well-trained pet is also likely to have an easier time at the groomer or veterinarian’s office. While young pets are the most impressionable, it’s never too late to work on good habits.

Spend quality time together
The human-animal bond can be very strong. Studies have linked owning a pet to lower blood pressure and stress levels in humans. Pets are also associated with providing a sense of purpose and reduced feelings of loneliness. Whether you’re going for a hike with your dog or cuddling on the couch with your cat during a Netflix binge, be sure to spend some quality time this year bonding with your furry loved ones.