2015 went fast, so fast that many of us were unable to stop and enjoy it before it was gone. To make sure you don’t miss out on spending quality time with your pets in this upcoming second half of 2016, here is a list of 16 things to do before the year slips by.
1. Grow Some Catnip
Cats love catnip, and if your cat is an outdoor cat, planting some of these perennials in your flower or vegetable garden is a good way to attract your cat and to keep rodents away. Just be wary of your cat’s behavior around the plant, because some cats like to lay on it and therefore could destroy whatever else you have growing around the catnip. If that’s the case, growing the catnip away from the rest of your garden is a good idea.
If your cat is an indoor cat, satisfy his/her catnip cravings by planting it in pots and rotate between having some outside and inside. Catnip needs a lot of light, therefore indoor pots should be rotated outside periodically.
2. Walk Your Pet
This doesn’t only apply to your dog; some cats enjoy walks on a leash as well. Before you walk your pet, it is important to make sure you invest in a collar and metal collar tags with your pet’s name and your address and phone number in case your pet escapes and is found. While you can walk a dog or a cat with just a leash and a collar, it is beneficial to invest in a harness as well. Collars can choke your pet and put unnecessary strain on their neck while a harness spreads the pressure and makes for a more comfortable, controlled walk.
Not all cats respond well to walking on a leash, however; it is wise to test out your cat’s walking preferences in your yard before taking him/her on a walk. Many cats find enjoyment in the walk just as many dogs do, and the stimulation received by the smells and sights of the outdoors get your pet’s mind thinking actively. Walking with your pet is a great tool to strengthen the bond between you and your pet.
3. Invest In Some Pet Toys
Dogs and cats alike love toys, and playing with your pet helps to form and strengthen the bond between you, whether it is playing Frisbee at the local park with your dog or using a wand toy with something dangling on the end for your cat to bat around.
4. Go Backpacking With Your Dog
Before you take your dog on a backpacking trip, make sure that both you and your dog are experienced hikers. Make sure to pack enough water and food for you and your dog, and be confident in your first aid abilities if either one of you were injured. Backpacking trips can be a fun way to become one with nature and spend time with your dog.
5. Go Hiking With Your Dog
If you don’t have the expertise or training to go backpacking with Fido, fear not; a small hike through a nearby national park or trail once in a while is just as enjoyable.
6. Make Some Homemade Treats
Dogs and cats love treats, and it is important to give your pet the best nutrition. Sometimes it is hard to tell what ingredients are really in treats for your pet, but when you make homemade ones, you can ensure that they are the best for your furry best friend. Many recipes can be accessed online, and below I have a couple links to treat recipes you can try.
Dog Treats – thekitchn.com
Cat Treats – pet360.com
7. Sign Up For Obedience Training
Spending time with your dog by teaching him/her to listen to vocal or hand cues is rewarding for you and your dog; it builds trust between you two and also helps promote safety when the training is applied to situations where your dog has escaped. If Fido has been taught to return to you on command, there is a lesser risk of him or her becoming lost. Obedience training can be basic or advanced, and whether you continue it to the level of obedience trials and contests is up to you. Either way, you and your dog will enjoy the time you spend together.
8. Build a Cat Tree
Cats love scratching and climbing, and to prevent that urge from being taken out on the wall or couch, it is beneficial to have some sort of cat tree in your home. There are plenty available at your local pet stores, but if you want to customize it, there are plenty of DIY tutorials online depicting how to build one yourself, whether you want one that is elaborate or simple.
Here is just one of many DIYs for this project online: blog.diynetwork.com
more elaborate ideas: boredpanda.com
9. Bring Your Dog On A Trip
There are many hotels, restaurants, stores, and tourist attractions that are pet friendly. Next time you’re planning a getaway, check out websites like bringfido.com.
10. Train Your Pet To Be A Therapy Pet
If your pet is patient and loves visitors, you can sign up to be certified to have your pet be a therapy pet. You can volunteer in nursing homes or hospitals and bring the joy your pet brings you to other people. Or, for a less intensive commitment, you can start a Reading With Dogs event at you local library, where you can organize to have your pet and other people’s pets sit with children while they read so they can become more comfortable with reading out loud.
11. Host a Pet Party
Whether it’s your pet’s adoption anniversary, birthday, or simply just for fun, a pet party is a great way to socialize with your friends, and your pet’s (often new-found) friends. For ideas on themes for the perfect dog party, click here.
12. Organize A Dog Walk For Charity
Get your community involved in a cause by organizing a dog walk for charity! Advertise it through fliers and local media outlets, and have the proceeds go to a local shelter or your favorite animal organization.
13. Have A Photo Shoot With Your Pet
Feeling photogenic? Get professional photos of you and your pet, or invite a friend and do an informal shoot at your house or a park.
14. Make Social Media Accounts For Your Pet
Social media is a fun way to share your pet’s antics with the world, as I and my family know firsthand with our Instagram account for our mutt Watson (@watsonthemutt). Make a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account for your pet and invite your friends to follow it so they never miss the next cutest thing your pet does.
15. Play Piano With Your Cat
My cat Shadow loves to step on my keyboard while I’m practicing, and sometimes it can be a lot of fun. You can even record what your cat plays and mix it into a song!
16. Spend Quality Time With Your Pet
If we’re being honest, it doesn’t matter what activity you do with your pet – whether you throw an extravagant pet party or simply go for a walk with your pet, they are going to love the quality time you spend together. Pets make any occasion a better one, so no matter what you do, make sure to spend quality time with your pet.