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New Years Resolutions for Pet Parents

Happy New Year from Whitworth Animal Clinic! Are you ready for the New Year? Resolutions are a great way to start off a fresh new year, and many of the same resolutions you make for yourself and your family – eating better, getting more exercise, taking time enjoying life – are appropriate for your four legged family members as well. Consider making some of the following resolutions for a year of healthy, happy pets.

Losing Weight and Getting Back Into Shape

Probably the number one New Year’s resolution for pet owners is to lose weight and get back into shape. The same resolution also applies to many of our pets. Why not fulfill both resolutions at once!

  • Add Exercise Into Your Daily Routine with Your Pet. Daily exercise is important in keeping your pets happy, active, and at their proper weight, and an exercise program for your pet can also provide you with the same benefits! Most adult dogs need about 30 minutes of exercise a day, so if you normally just let the dog out into the back for bathroom breaks, take a walk through the neighborhood or a short hike instead. Once you both are in peak condition, maybe consider jogging with your pet. For feline family members, spend some time physically playing with your cat around the house instead of just providing a toy – get that kitty jumping, running and pouncing. Looking silly is never an option for a cat. Not only does this playtime also help keep your pets’ minds sharp and mentally stimulated, it also increases your bond with your pet.

 

  • Eating Healthier. A resolution that goes paw-in-paw with the goal of losing weight and getting back into shape is a healthy diet – for all family members. Not only can a bad diet lead to obesity in many animals, it can also contribute to dental problems and other health related issues, just like in people. The New Year is a great time to look at your pets’ eating routine and make healthy adjustments as needed. Resolve to do less table food scraps and more fresh treats instead, like pieces of carrot, apple and green beans. Check to make sure you are feeding the recommended serving size to your pet – sometimes we just scoop or pour out of a bag/box and don’t bother to implement portion control. Not only will the jiggles in the middle when they wiggle be reduced, your pet’s coat will become shinier and they’ll have more energy (and there’s where the exercise comes in…)

Schedule Regular Preventative Check-ups 

Like humans, younger pets need to visit the vet once per year for a preventative check-up and more mature pets at least twice a year depending on their health.  Make a resolution to schedule an appointment to take your pets to the vet when you schedule your family members’ annual tune-ups. Not only do yearly well pet-exams keep your pet up-to-date on the latest vaccinations and flea/heartworm medications, it also helps avoid preventable health conditions or provides early detection of health problems like diabetes and arthritis. If it’s been a year or more since your pet has visited Dr. Whitworth, make an appointment today!

Socialize More

Just like you may have joined a gym to help inspire and promote your weight management goals, bringing your dog to a dog park or taking group walks has two advantages – exercise for all and improved socialization skills.

Promise to Travel More With Your Pet

Getting your pets accustomed to car rides has tangible benefits beyond just the feeling of the wind on their furry faces. Car rides are a great way to introduce your pets to new scenery and experiences. Give your dog a chance to check out the beach, a lake, or a hike along a river trail – imagine the new smells to investigate. Even cats (in their secure carriers) can enjoy a field trip now and then. The key is to keep your pet safe and secure while riding in the car, or even the adventures on a boat. The more well traveled, the more your pets may think a car ride isn’t necessarily associated with a trip to Whitworth Animal Clinic to get SHOTS! And many lodging choices are now pet-friendly.

Continuing Education

Pets actually crave structure in their lives, whether they know it or not. Especially dogs, who typically want to please their owners and gain praise. And cats are quite intelligent and can learn too, even if they yawn in your face when you try to illicit a response to “come”. Cats are often underestimated when it comes to behavior, because cats house train and bath themselves. So most people aren’t aware of their cat’s abilities in this area. (see our December, 2015 blog for cat training tips). Making learning part of every day is a fantastic resolution to have for this new year. Maybe this is the year to go for an obedience school degree, or an advanced refresher course.

Invest in IDs

January is a good time to update your pet’s ID tags, and if they don’t already have one, have one made at your local pet food and supply store. Even pets that live indoors need ID just in case of emergency or escape. Implanted microchips are also a smart option.

Focus on Grooming

Pet parents take the time to fix their hair, practice oral health habits, trim and manicure their nails, and maintain good hygiene. Pledge to give your pet’s fur, teeth, nails and ears extra attention in the New Year. Brush your pet every day and check their teeth, nails and ears at least once a week. You make it a priority to take routine care of yourself and your family, so decide to make your pet’s health and hygiene a focus area too. When you groom your pet, it has the added bonus of making them feel happy, clean and loved.

At Whitworth Animal Clinic, we can help you achieve all of your New Year’s resolutions to enhance your pet’s well being in tandem with your own. Make an “All Paws Considered” pact with your pet to have the best year yet, and contact Dr. Whitworth with any questions and for guidance with resources. Happy New Year!