New Years Resolutions aren’t just for people.
We flip our mattresses in the spring and we check our smoke detectors when the time changes.
How many of you think to check to be sure your pets’ city licenses, vaccines, health checks, microchip information, flea/worm treatments are all up to date? Surprisingly not many do. It’s always a good idea to set a specific time of year EVERY year to check this information so it’s easier to remember.
Is your pet’s ownership information up to date? What about their personal identity tags? With the ever changing cell phones and new phone numbers many do not think to update their microchip information or their city licensing information. Without this updated information your lost pet may take a lot longer than normal to find his way home. It’s super important to have your city pet licensed, not only to avoid a fine, but as a means of identification if your pet were to ever go missing.
Annual exams and vaccines are easy to lose track of especially if you have a multi-pet household. One thing that people don’t realize is that fleas and worms can be a problem year round so some may need to consider treatment twelve months per year. While the fleas may be dormant outside they can be very alive and thriving well indoors even in the winter. January is a good time to pick up your treatments so you will have them ready to go either immediately or in the spring.
What are some other things you can do to ensure your pets have a healthy, happy 2016? Check out our list:
- Stop Overindulging!
Allowing our animal’s free-choice to food usually leads to over-feeding and weight gain. It is important to measure individual meals to ensure that your pet isn’t eating too much. If you already measure your pet’s diet and you’re still not seeing the weight loss results you wish you were, maybe getting a kitchen scale and weight the appropriate amount of food would work better for you. If you’re not sure how much your pet needs, give your vet a call; just make sure to have your diet’s nutritional information details hand
- Eat Right!
Young pets, old pets. Active pets, ‘house’ pets. All pets have different nutrient requirements depending on age, metabolism, activity levels, ect. Some diets also contain supplements for specific medical issues like arthritis or urinary issues. Choosing a diet tailored to your pet’s life stage is a great way to keep them in the best possible health. A “senior” or “mature” diet should be considered for any animal over the age of 7.
- Get Moving!
Other than the obvious benefits of regular exercise, it reinforces the human-animal bond and can help improve your pet’s manners. Try to find a “Doga” (dog yoga) class, or a group/club of like-minded pet owners to go hiking, skiing, kayaking with, ect. For some new exercise ideas to get you and your pet moving, visit this website: http://www.hillspet.com/weight-management/pet-exercise.html
- Have Fun!
Get your cat moving again by triggering their predatory instincts. Get out the laser pointer, catnip toys, crinkly balls, and climbable cat-trees. Even an empty box can provide endless fun for out feline companions. Adding daily stimulation to your cats routine cat reduce stress, prevent skin and urinary disease as well as promote better digestive health.
- Make A Date With Your Vet!
Because our pets can’t tell us how they feel, we like to practice what we call ‘preventative medicine’. This means having an annual examination to see if there are any changes in weight, coat condition, eye/ear/oral health. If any new lumps or bumps have developed or if there are signs of arthritis. We can check if the heart and lungs sound ok. If needed, your vet will provide with the appropriate vaccinations and parasite control. Once they become ‘Senior’, we also strongly recommend having annual screening bloodwork done, in order to make sure all is well on the inside as well. This is the perfect opportunity to ask your vets advice on nutrition, training, behavioral issues, if he/she should be on any supplements, etc.
Brushing your pet should become part of your daily routine. This will remove excess fur from the coat and reduce the amount you find on your clothes and in the house. It helps spread the oils made in the skin onto the fur; making the coat shiny and healthy. And it will also give you some more one-on-one time with your pet and help you bond.
- Brush Your Teeth!
This is the best way keep your pet’s mouth healthy and prevent the necessity of those costly dental cleaning. Brushing with a veterinary specific paste and brush should be part of your daily routine. If you cannot commit to every day, at least twice a week is sufficient when starting from a clean and healthy mouth. Here is a helpful video to teach you how to train your pet to accept teeth brushing: https://www.virbacuniversity.com/practice-resources/tooth_brushing (dog) http://www.pethealthnetwork.com/cat-health/cat-grooming/how-brush-your-cats-teeth (cat). If your pet absolutely resents this, daily dental chews, a dental diet, and daily rinses can all be part of a good oral care regime.
- Teach An Old Dog New Tricks!
Same as in people, mental stimulation can help prevent cognitive deterioration (ie dementia) in aging cats and dogs. Keep your pet’s brain active by teaching new tricks, practicing those they already know, and using puzzle feeders.
- Be Safe!
Each New Year’s Day, when you’re checking the batteries in the smoke detector, also check your pet’s identification and licenses. Over the last year some things could have changed and need to be updated, in case your pet was ever lost. Tags and microchips should be kept up to date with the best way to contact you and your current address. City and Rabies tags should be the most recent and not expired. If you know your pet is microchipped, but lost the company’s information; you can bring your pet to the vet to be scanned and they can use the number to look up the manufacturer and their contact info for you.
Many animal shelters and rescues need caring individuals to provide temporary homes for pets. If this is not something you think you’re up to, then financial donations, or donations of supplies and your time to a local shelter or rescue group is always appreciated.
We wish you all a very happy and healthy 2016!