By Phil Mutz, writer at LittleThings.com
New Year's Eve is the perfect time for setting goals and starting fresh.
According to StatisticBrain.com, 45 percent of Americans "usually make New Year's resolutions." These resolutions range from losing weight, to quitting smoking, to spending more time with family.
But noticeably missing from their list of the year's top 10 resolutions are any that are pet-related.
And with so many of us animal lovers and pet owners out there, shouldn't we be including our furry friends among our top priorities for the new year?
Just as our pets can improve our physical and mental health, there are many ways that we can improve the lives of our cats and dogs in return. And the New Year is a great time to get started.
Scroll through below for our exclusive list of pet-positive New Year's resolutions. Our animal friends deserve the absolute best, so I will definitely be committing myself to several of these pet resolutions for the coming year!
Which of these resolutions with you be making for the sake of your pet? Let us know in the comments.
Make your pet's health one of your biggest priorities going into the New Year. Part of this involves paying close attention to how much food you give them.
According to PetMD, "Many owners 'eyeball' their pet's daily intake and pour that into a bowl, usually resulting in overfeeding and weight gain." They recommend using a measuring cup to ensure your pet gets just the right amount of food.
Resolve to bring more joy into your pet's life in 2016. One easy way is by setting up pet play dates. Call up a friend with a similarly size pet and get together at a nearby park.
Interaction with other animals is great for your pet's mental health, and can help vastly improve their social skills.
As our pets get older, their medical needs can be quite expensive. Start saving up now!
Just as parents save money for their children to go to college, pet owners should start a special account just for pet-related expenses down the road.
Having some extra cash will ensure that you never have to compromise when it comes to getting your pet the best care possible.
No pet owner ever wants to be in a situation where their pet has wandered away.
But you can at least be sure that they will be returned to you as quickly as possible by keeping their pet ID up to date.
PetMD writes, "If any of your contact information has changed... don't wait -- update their tags and microchip information today! It's the best way to ensure a lost pet makes their way home safely."
Just as people get bored, our pets can get bored with the same old routine day in and day out. Resolve to try something new with your pet in the coming year.
Choose a new activity that you can try together, like swimming or hiking. This will have the added bonus of providing you with incredible bonding time as well!
Just as people need to clear out their clutter from time to time, our pets need the same exact thing.
Stop holding on to old, beat-up, and often germ-infested pet toys. New Year's is the perfect time to toss those yucky toys into the trash, and to give your pet something fun and new to play with.
Dr. Janet Tobiassen Crosby writes, "If possible, keep a medical log of your pet's vet visits, medications, special needs, etc., to help keep track of your pet's medical history."
Make your pet's health a top priority in the coming year. Resolving to keep a pet medical log can be enormously helpful if you have to make trips to the vet for something more serious down the line.
Your pet undoubtedly loves you and loves spending time with you. Make it a priority to play with them more in 2016.
We often have good intentions when it comes to making time to play. But we don't always do it.
Carve out certain hours of your week that can be devoted entirely to playing with your pet. It will give them some much-needed exercise, and will provide you both with some crucial one-on-one time.
For you dog owners out there, you should definitely take your canine for more car rides in the coming year.
Dogs love sticking their heads out of the car window. Why not give them this little joy as much as you can?
Take them along with you whenever you can. And if you have nowhere to go, take a little drive around the block. They will love you all the more for it!
According to PetMD, brushing "removes excess fur from the coat, reducing the amount you find on your clothes and furniture. [Also,] it helps distribute oils from the skin to the fur, keeping the coat shiny and healthy."
Resolve to brush your pet daily in the New Year. It's great for their health, and it gives you both a chance to connect physically.
Make your pet's mental health -- and overall behavior -- a top priority in 2016.
Teaching your pet a new trick can be great for stimulating their brain.
Perhaps the most important resolution for any pet owner to make is vowing to take your pet to the veterinarian at least once a year.
As much as we love our pets and pay close attention to them, there can sometimes be things that we can't see going on underneath the surface. Make sure to take them in for an annual checkup.
In fact, why wait? January is a great time to make an appointment!
We all love our pets, so why not commit to making them an even bigger priority in the New Year? These pet-positive resolutions are so easy to make, and our animals will love us even more for them!
What will your New Year's resolution be? Let us know in the comments.
Please SHARE with friends and family who love animals, too!