The new year may renew your enthusiasm and recharge your dedication to achieving personal goals, and you can use this impetus for making this year your pet’s healthiest yet. While considering New Year’s resolutions that focus on your own health and happiness, create a few that include your furry pal. To help spur your resolution planning, read our Heritage Veterinary Clinic team’s top pet-centric resolution ideas.
New Year’s resolutions focusing on your pet’s weight
According to Statista, the top three most common New Year’s resolutions for 2023 are to exercise more, eat healthier, and lose weight. Because about 60% of all pets are overweight or obese, your furry pal would likely benefit from these great resolutions:
- Upgrade your pet’s diet — As your pet ages, their dietary needs change. They may now require an adult or senior pet diet, depending on their current life stage. Or, they may have developed a chronic condition that could benefit from a prescription diet, such as one that improves kidney disease, skin health, or joint mobility. Ask your veterinarian to recommend the most appropriate diet for your pet’s health needs.
- Plan your pet’s portions — If you are guilty of keeping your pet’s food bowl full at all times, resolve to measure their portions accurately, which will aid in weight loss. Calculate the number of calories your pet needs each day, and calculate each food portion’s calories. Using an actual measuring cup—not a coffee cup or giant styrofoam cup—dole out your pet’s food to ensure they receive the appropriate amount.
- Inject your exercise routine with excitement — Strolling along the same sidewalk day in and day out can make you feel less than enthusiastic about walking your pet. To fire up your zeal for exercise, find new hiking trails, visit pet-friendly restaurants, schedule playdates, or think up new games to play with your pet.
New Year’s resolutions regarding your pet’s mental health
Your furry pal’s mental health is just as critical to their wellbeing as their physical health. Help prevent your pet from becoming bored by trying the following:
- Improve your pet’s environmental enrichment — Spruce up your pet’s environment by making your home an interactive playground. Provide your pet with puzzle feeders, and make them work for their meals. For an entertaining scavenger hunt, hide powerfully scented treats throughout your home. Always remember to provide your pet with plenty of items that give them an appropriate outlet for their instinctive behaviors. Give your cat climbing and scratching posts, and your dog chew toys and snuffle mats.
- Play brain games with your pet — A bored pet can get into all sorts of mischief, so keep your pet’s brain occupied by teaching them new tricks and skills, allowing them to sniff various scents along their walk, or engaging with them in vigorous play sessions.
New Year’s resolutions addressing your pet’s dental care
As soon as your pet eats, oral bacteria—left unchecked—begin accumulating, and can travel throughout their body, damaging your furry pal’s heart, liver, and kidneys. Maintaining your pet’s oral health is crucial for their overall health:
- Schedule annual oral exams and dental cleanings — As much as 60% of a tooth’s structure lies below the gumline, making anesthetized oral exams and cleanings essential to provide your pet with a comprehensive evaluation and periodontal disease treatment
- Strive for daily at-home dental care — While a toothbrush cannot reach the bacteria lurking below your pet’s gumline, toothbrushing can greatly reduce the plaque and tartar accumulation on a tooth’s crown. Daily toothbrushing, food and water additives, appropriate chews and treats, and dental wipes and rinses all can aid in minimizing plaque and tartar buildup, reducing dental disease severity. Regular at-home dental care also prolongs the time between essential dental cleanings—saving you money and your pet from having to undergo more anesthetic procedures than necessary.
New Year’s resolutions concerning your pet’s preventive care
Your pet’s preventive care does exactly that—helps prevent serious disease. Regular wellness visits are essential to help your four-legged friend live a long and healthy life:
- Schedule regular wellness exams — While you know your pet best, your veterinarian has the expertise to spot subtle changes that may indicate illness. In addition, wellness visits give you the opportunity to talk with your veterinarian about every aspect of your pet’s health care—from behavior quirks to dietary needs.
- Stay on top of your pet’s vaccinations — Vaccinations administered on schedule keep your pet safe from life-threatening infectious diseases such as rabies, distemper, parvovirus, and panleukopenia.
- Set up reminders for your pet’s parasite prevention — Pet owners have a lot on their minds, and remembering to give your furry pal their parasite prevention on the appropriate date can be challenging. Schedule recurring reminders on your phone’s calendar, or sign up for text or email alerts from the product’s manufacturer.
- Screen your pet for early disease — Although your pet may appear perfectly healthy on the outside, disease can be brewing inside. Screening tests, such as blood work and a urinalysis, can spot disease in the condition’s earliest stages—long before your pet displays clinical signs. Routine health screenings help your pet receive the most effective and affordable, and least invasive treatment.
Our Heritage Veterinary Clinic team is here to help you ensure your pet realizes their New Year’s resolutions. Give us a call to schedule your furry pal’s wellness visit or professional dental cleaning.