The new year is a time for new resolutions. But instead of only focusing on ourselves, let’s make a point to include our pets in some resolutions this year. Here are five of the most important resolutions you can make for your pet for the coming year.
1. Engage in at least 15 minutes of physical activity, twice a day, with your pet.
You can go for a walk in your neighborhood, play fetch in the backyard or use a flirt pole to stimulate stalking/hunting behaviors. Whatever helps your pet engage physically will be of significant benefit to them, both physically and mentally. And you can derive the secondary benefits of bonding with your pet and sometimes even improving your own physical health through activity.
2. Focus on healthy weight
The majority of pets in America are overweight or obese (59.5% of cats and 55.8% of dogs in 2019.) Those conditions can lead to a number of health problems including cancer, heart and kidney disease, diabetes, arthritis and other bone and joint disorders. Ultimately, the average overweight pet enjoys a lower quality of life and a significantly shorter life expectancy. If you love your pet and want to spend more quality time with them, there may be no single more important thing that you can do as a pet owner to improve the quality of life for your pet than to help them reach a healthy weight.
3. Clean your pet’s teeth
Just like we need regular brushing, flossing and visits to the dentist to keep our teeth bright and sparkly, our pets need regular attention to their teeth. Brushing with a toothbrush on a daily basis is the ideal. But there are numerous other dental cleaning products available including oral rinses, medicated wipes and chew toys all designed to help fight the same dental diseases we humans face. Just as important is an annual checkup and regular dental cleanings at the veterinary clinic.
4. Make bloodwork a priority
At your own annual physical exam, your physician almost certainly collects blood to run a comprehensive screening panel to ascertain your overall well being. Annual blood work for your pet is just as important. Bloodwork on a young pet (1-3 years old) can establish a baseline for future screenings. Screenings on an annual basis for adult pets can help detect changes within the body and can often help catch conditions early when they are more easily treated.
5. Teach your pet one new trick a month
Teaching your pet a “trick” may sound like a silly endeavor, but few things can enrich a pet’s life as much as learning new things. Owners can take a passive approach and just provide toys and enrichment activities to their pets that require them to think or engage their senses. However, a far more rewarding experience is to actively work with the pet during the process to learn new tricks or behaviors. This can promote good behavior while also helping to curb destructive actions. And it further strengthens the relationship between pet and owner.
Let’s all resolve to make 2022 a great year for our pets. If we can be of assistance in implementing one or more of these resolutions, you can speak to one of our pet specialists here at Family Pet Health by calling 615-907-8387.