New Years Pet Resolutions
The Best New Years Resolutions for Dog & Cat Health in 2020
I would like to start off 2020 by wishing everyone a Happy New Year from all of us at Properties Animal Clinic. As we start a new year, it is common practice to take stock of our daily routines and make goals for positive change in our lives, which we refer to as new years’ resolutions. This month’s blog is highlighting what we can do to improve our pet’s health and happiness in the new year through new years’ pet resolutions for your dogs and/or cats. In the process, we believe that it may actually impact your own personal health goals, and strengthen the human animal bond that we get so much benefit from.
Here are our top 5 New Year’s Pet Resolutions for 2020:
1. Schedule Routine Pet Health Checks
Annual physical exams and wellness checks are one of the most important tools in maintaining pet health. As veterinarians we strive for prevention of illness rather than treatment of it. Prevention starts with routinepet health examinations, bloodwork,vaccinations, andparasite control. Having an annual exam by your veterinarian is a good start. From there, further recommendations for wellness will be determined by the life stage and current health status of your pet. These recommendations may include vaccinations and parasite control protocols based on current lifestyle or travel, bloodwork to monitor baseline health or progression of pre-existing conditions, nutritional advice, and/or recommendations for further work up if something new is found on routine examination. Start the year off right byscheduling an annual wellness check with your veterinarian.
2. Start a Daily Dental Care Routine
The American Veterinary Medical Association states 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of oral disease by the age of 3. Dental disease is one of the most common and preventable diseases we see. It should also be noted that unchecked dental infections can lead to other health issues like heart and liver disease. Just like in humans, routineveterinary dental care,such as teeth cleanings, can dramatically reduce the occurrence and severity of dental disease. If you haven’t already, start a daily dental care routine with your pet. With a little patience and proper technique, you will be surprised at how effective you can be at brushing your pet’s teeth. Your veterinarian would be happy to show you what products are safe to use and the proper approach. Regular dental exams and cleanings by a registered veterinarian are also important and become imperative if your pet is not amenable to having their teeth brushed. For more information on proper teeth brushing and cleaning, see our previous blog“How Much is Dog Teeth Cleaning?”
3. Exercise More
Humans and pets both greatly benefit from being active. An active pet is a healthy pet. If you make a new years’ resolution to improve your physical fitness in 2020, also make a goal to include your pet. Dogs make great exercise companions, even if it is just getting out for a daily walk. A pet’s health will improve if you include exercise in their daily routine. Think about including your dog when you go for that jog, hike or walk. Even better, let them be your motivation for going out. We do recommend that cats are kept as indoor pets, but consider training them to walk with you on a harness and leash. If not, make structured playtime for indoor cats and encourage them to exercise. Check out this link for moreideas on how to get your indoor cat to exercise.
4. Maintain a Healthy Weight
A 2018 survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that 56% of dogs and 60% of cats were categorized as overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese predisposes our pets to other health issues like diabetes, arthritis and heart disease. At your pet’s annual wellness exam, we always check their weight and body condition score to assess if they are maintaining a healthy weight. If your pet is found to be over or under weight, consider making a new years’ pet resolution to get them back to a healthy size. Your veterinarian is a valuable resource on how to help do this. Nutrition and exercise should be tailored to each individual pet’s needs as they may have concurrent health issues that need to be considered. If you think your pet could benefit from some weight management advice,please make an appointment.
5. More Quality Time with Your Pet
If you’d like to get healthy or maintain health in 2020, consider making a new years’ pet resolution to spend more time interacting with your dog and/or cat. Pets make our lives healthier, so spending more quality time with them is beneficial for us. The Human Animal Bond Research Institute (HABRI) has compiled research “that demonstrates how pets improve heart health; alleviate depression; increase well-being; support child health and development; and contribute to healthy aging.” Pets are known to decrease stress related hormones, lower blood pressure and aid in the treatment of conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder. If our goal is to live a healthier lifestyle, then strengthening the human animal bond is an easy and effective way to do that. Make time in your busy schedule to spend time with your pet by throwing a ball for your dog in the back yard or taking out the fishing pole cat toy and enticing your cat to play. You and your pet will be healthier throughout the year as a result.
If you’d like more ideas on how to improve you or your pets health through new lifestyle habits, or even your own custom new years resolution for your dog or cat,contact your veterinariantoday.