With a new year—and decade—it is time for fresh beginnings. Many people are optimistic that they will make changes for the better this year. When making resolutions for a happier, healthier you, keep your furry friend in mind. Here are our seven top resolutions that will ensure your four-legged friend is her happiest, healthiest self this year.
#1: Visit your veterinarian more often
If you want a healthy pet, the No. 1 thing you can do is to stay on top of preventive care. Call us to schedule an appointment to perform a physical exam, discuss parasite prevention, run baseline blood work, plan a diet and exercise routine, and check out their dental health. Wellness visits are much more than vaccinations, and your pet’s appointment will be geared toward preventing disease and helping them live a longer, healthier life. We are delighted to be your pet’s wellness-care team, and we are always available if you have any questions or concerns.
#2: Learn how many calories your pet needs to maintain a healthy weight
The number of overweight and obese pets is growing, leading to numerous health issues, such as osteoarthritis, diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, and some cancer types. Keep your pet at a healthy weight by determining how many daily calories they need to maintain an ideal body condition. Cats generally require fewer calories than dogs, so choose the correct calculator to work out your pet’s daily requirement. If you need help calculating your pet’s correct number of calories, or you’d like to know her current body condition score, stop in our hospital for a consultation with our team.
#3: Accurately measure your pet’s food
Calculating the number of calories your pet requires does no good if you don’t correctly measure their food. The number of calories contained in each cup of food should be listed on the bag, so do the math, get an actual measuring cup—no coffee cup or tupperware container—and divide your pet’s allotted calories into their number of meals. Include the calories in their treats, which should take up no more than 10% of their calorie requirements, in their daily allotment.
#4: Squeeze more exercise into your pet’s day
An extra 10 to 15 minutes of exercise per day is not only great for you, but is also a wonderful way for your pet to burn some extra calories, and to bond with you. Take your dog for a longer hike than usual, or hit a new neighborhood block. For kitties, break out their favorite feather wand to entice more activity, or lure them with a robotic mouse that’s perfect for stalking and pouncing.
#5: Battle boredom by teaching your pet a new trick or game
Although “they” say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, don’t listen to “them.” Senior pets—including cats—can learn new skills and games, which are essential for battling the cognitive dysfunction common in older pets. Encourage your pet to use their mind with daily training sessions, new games, and feeding puzzles instead of dishes.
#6: Stick to a grooming schedule
Keeping your pet well-groomed makes it easier to monitor their skin and hair coat for changes, such as lumps, bumps, skin tags, hair loss, reddened areas, ear infections, or parasites. When grooming your pet, remove mats, tangles, and burrs, and ensure their ears are clean and free of debris, and their nails are carefully trimmed.
#7: Set up a dental-care routine
One of the most important aspects of pet care can be mostly accomplished in the comfort of your own home. Dental care is more than fresh breath—by removing plaque and tartar buildup, you prevent harmful oral bacteria from attacking your pet’s teeth, gingiva, jaw bone, heart, kidneys, and liver. A daily dental-care routine based on toothbrushing provides maximum benefit, but if your pet is not a toothbrushing fan, you can use dental treats and chews, water additives, oral wipes, or a prescription dental diet to keep their teeth clean and healthy.
It’s not too late to make New Year’s resolutions for your furry best friend. Give us a call to schedule a wellness appointment to put your pet on track.
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