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(BPT) - Tis' the season for new beginnings. As holiday gifts give way to New Year's resolutions, general health and wellness is top-of-mind, consistently ranking as a top goal for both men and women this time of year. This resolution season, try incorporating lifestyle changes that benefit both you and your pet.

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Include your pet inyour workouts

PetSmart veterinarian and pet care expert Dr. Kemba Marshall provides some helpful tips for achieving a healthier lifestyle for you and your animal companions.

1. Exercise is key. Pets, like humans, need physical activity in order to be healthy. The good news is giving your pet adequate daily exercise is easy! For some dog breeds, 30-minute walks are enough. For others, a game of fetch does the trick. Interested in trying something new? Mix up the activity. Try sprinting alongside your pet in quick intervals. Balls are great for fetch, but have you ever tried a Frisbee? Even a quick trip to the mailbox each day is a great option. No matter what, both you and your pet will have fun spending time together and getting a workout.

2. Stimulate the brain. Maintaining a healthy pet lifestyle goes beyond physical exercise. Activities to stimulate a pet's mental skills are fun and important too. Try a treat-dispensing or puzzle toy with your dog or cat to keep their mind active. Introduce the new toy before a meal, this way your pet will be hungry to learn.

3. Optimize the diet. Have you been feeding your pet the same food for years? It may be time for you and your veterinarian to assess his food and make sure you're providing one that is healthy and satisfying. Only Natural Pet was recently launched at PetSmart as a brand dedicated to the paleo-inspired diet for pets. It blends proteins with all-natural ingredients with a minimal processing, resulting in dehydrated, freeze-dried and air-dried raw products that deliver the paleo diet for pets. This natural brand eliminates all artificial ingredients such as flavorings or preservatives. The best way to switch your pet's food is by providing a gradual transition, mixing the old food with the new for up to 10 days.

4. Monitor your pet's activity and behavior. This may come as a surprise to many, but discovering an unhealthy habit in your pet's day-to-day life is as simple as paying closer attention to his or her behavior. While many humans monitor their daily behavior with technical gadgets and apps, monitoring a pet's daily activity may also lead to a healthier lifestyle. Is your pup demonstrating pent-up energy? More exercise might be necessary. Are they devouring their food too quickly? Maybe an active feeding approach is the right solution. Most often, correcting the behavior is as easy as discovering it in the first place.

5. Stick with your resolutions. Change can be tough on pets, especially when it disrupts diet or day-to-day routines. The important thing to remember is that positive results rarely come without work. As cliché as it may sound, both you and your pet will be thankful for the change in the long run.

These tips are a wonderful way to kick-start a healthier lifestyle for both you and your pet in the new year. Increasing your physical activity and improving your diet are just the first two steps. By monitoring yourself and your pet, increasing mental stimulation and sticking with your resolutions, a newer, healthier life for both you and your furry friend is well within reach. Visit for additional tips on how to maintain a healthier lifestyle.




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