Nearly halfway through December, many Americans have already hung their stockings, dragged in their Christmas trees, while others are preparing to light the first candle on the Menorah. As the holiday season pushes onward, the American Kennel Club (AKC) his urging animal owners to remember their pets as they make New Year’s resolutions.
"Eighty-one percent of dog owners buy gifts for their dogs," said AKC spokesperson Lisa Peterson. "But what you should really be giving them is consistent exercise, training and stimulation."
Owners resolving to get fit in the new year can easily turn to the family dog for both motivation and as a way to improve pet health.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, one out of every four dogs and cats in the U.S. is overweight. Taking a dog for a daily walk or run can get both parties in shape, and may even provide more exercise than a gym membership, according to a recent study.
Owners resolving to volunteer in community service events should note how animal therapy programs use dogs and cats to help the disabled, locate missing persons and cheer up the sick.
As the AKC advises, "Try to start the year off right by resolving to do more with your dog in 2010."