It’s traditional to make resolutions at the beginning of the New Year, and most typically involve starting fresh with new habits to improve our lives and our health, such as losing weight or re-committing to an exercise routine. This year, why not include your dog or cat in your resolutions? Just like our own health, it’s easy to take our pets’ health for granted; don’t wait for a pet health scare to get motivated – start taking steps now to improve the health and well-being of your dog or cat. Of course, the easy part is making the resolution; the trick is following through. To improve your chances of succeeding, just pick a few simple ones that you can commit to for an entire year, and hopefully beyond. Here are a few simple resolutions that will help improve the health of your dog or cat:
- Regular veterinary care. Many pet guardians only see the vet when their dog or cat shows signs of being ill. However, our pets are experts at hiding signs of illness. When you commit to regular annual exams (or semi-annual for older pets) your vet can spot a problem before it develops into a serious illness
- Dental care. As many as 80% of pets have periodontal disease by the age of three. It’s important to inspect your pet’s mouth regularly. If your pet already has bad breath or a build-up of tartar and plaque, begin with a professional dental cleaning. Follow that up with regular brushing with toothpaste formulated for pets.
- Exercise. If you commit to spending time every day exercising and playing with your pet, you can also incorporate your own fitness resolutions so you both become healthier. Plan to spend 30 minutes most days walking your dog or playing with your cat. Regular play will help your pet remain active and fit, and also reduces the boredom that may lead to destructive behavior.
- Grooming. Ensure your pet is well-groomed by devoting time for regular bathing, brushing, and nail trimming. If you make this a regular event, your pet will look forward to spending time with you. As a bonus, you will be able to spot any lumps, bumps or changes in your pet’s skin and coat which may indicate a brewing health problem.
So this year, instead of the inevitable New Year’s resolutions which are quickly broken, vow to make this the healthiest and best year ever for your pet.