Habit tracking isn’t just for people. In fact, there are dozens of different ways you can use a habit tracker to make your pets’ lives both happier and healthier. To get started, think about some goals you may have for your own pets. For example, do they have a health condition you’d like to help? Or do they have a behavioral issue you would like to fix?
Or perhaps you’d like to get into the habit of playing with them more or getting them on a grooming schedule. All of these things may be helped by habit tracking. But if you still need more ideas, check out the examples I listed below.
Goal Ideas For Pets
I want my pet to . . .
*In some cases, your goal might be to figure out if something is wrong with your pet. With my own pets, when I get the feeling that something is “off”, I’llI start tracking their behaviors, especially noting differences from their usual routine (like energy levels and bowel habits).
Habit Ideas For Pets
Once you have a goal in mind, try to think of habits you can implement that will help you achieve it. For examples, see the list below.
How To Set the Difficulty And Frequency Of Your Habits
With pets, you have to be careful since they can’t just tell us how they feel. So when starting new habits go slow, see how your pet reacts, and then make small changes in the difficulty or frequency of your habits when appropriate. You may also want to consult your vet or do research before making drastic changes to your pet’s life or routine (to be cautious).
For example, if your goal is to help your pet lose weight and you’re switching to different food, it needs to be done very slowly and in a controlled manner – or else it could give your pet digestive issues.
So if this was my own pet, I may create a plan like the one below. Over a few weeks, I would gradually replace their regular food with low-calorie food while increasing their exercise.
For a second example, your goal might be to improve your pets’ grooming habits. So your first habit might be to conduct weekly grooming sessions. For some pets, this is a simple activity and you can give them a head-to-toe grooming session without issue. But for others, you may need to build a grooming routine slowly (or risk a trip to the ER).
So for the first week, you may just let your pet get used to you touching their claws before you actually try to trim them.
Tracking Health Conditions
I would really like to emphasize how helpful a habit tracker can be if your pet has a health condition. Not only does it let you keep track of your pet’s symptoms and plan appropriate treatments, but it also allows you to pass this information along to your vet when needed.
For example, if your pet has bathroom issues, you may want to track habits related to their output (bowel movements and urine). As someone who has owned a cat with serious constipation issues, I know how helpful this can be. It wasn’t the most glamorous thing to track. But it helped me tremendously in regards to the type and the amount of medication he needed each day.
And for another pet, I tracked the days I had to administer sub-q fluids including how much they were getting and how they reacted to it. And for all my pets I always mark the days they receive their flea medication, which needs to be given on a strict 30-day schedule.
Choosing A Habit Tracker For Pets
When it comes to choosing a habit tracker for your pets, one of the most important things to consider is how much detail you will need. For example, some habit trackers just have enough room to check off whether a habit was completed or not. While others have more space to write down notes and descriptions.
In my own case, I like using a habit tracker with room for notes, since I’m generally tracking health issues that often require descriptions.
If you do an internet search, you will find many apps, habit trackers, and journals that are specifically designed for pets that can be downloaded for free or purchased separately. You can also add your pets to the habit tracker you’re already using or design a completely new one from scratch.
Quick Points To Remember
Animals Are Sensitive To Change
Some animals are very sensitive to change. For example, I have a cat that still holds a grudge for the bath I gave her 5 years ago. Looking back, I should have gone very slowly, gradually introducing her to water over a period of weeks. Or even better, I should have started bathing her when she was just a kitten.
The thing to remember is that things that seem extremely simple to us can be a very frightening experience for our pets. And that behavioral changes take time.
Animals Have Very Different Bodies Than Ours
Pets’ bodies are very different from our own. With cats, for example, if they lose weight too quickly they can develop a serious condition known as fatty liver disease. Their livers can also be damaged if they come into contact with many different essential oils.
So the point is to do research before implementing changes with your pet, especially since there’s so much information online.
Preparation Is Key
In many cases, it will be helpful to prepare yourself before you start making changes to your pet’s behavior. Earlier, we touched upon how looking up dietary information can be helpful. But this is also true when it comes to training.
For example, by learning about training beforehand, you can make sure you don’t accidentally reinforce bad behaviors. Or you can find assistance by bringing your pet to obedience classes or having a trainer come to your home.
Are you using a habit tracker with your pets? What things are you tracking? Please share in the comments!