Another new year has rolled around, and you’re likely dragging your feet on making resolutions you’ll stick to. Instead of swearing to lose that last 10 pounds—again—or to eat that bag of spring mix instead of letting it rot in your fridge every single time, focus on your pet. Choose wellness-oriented goals for your furry pal to help improve their health. Here are 10 resolutions to get you started.
#1: Rev up your pet’s exercise plan
If your pet is becoming one with the couch, it’s past time to get them up and moving. Slowly ease your pet into a daily exercise routine, starting with gentle walks or low-intensity play sessions. As they gain muscle, strength, and stamina, switch to a brisk jog on a favorite trail, or play a rousing game of fetch or chase. Keep in mind that cats typically exercise in much shorter bursts than dogs, so plan out several short activities for your cat instead of a large block of time.
#2: Engage in mentally stimulating activities
Sitting at home all day with no plans may sound relaxing to you, but downright boring for your pet. Entertain your four-legged friend when you’re not home with interactive toys and treat puzzles. Convince your cat to chase a robotic mouse, or search for a stash of catnip. Set up your pup with an automatic ball launcher, so they will sprint down the hallway and burn off some energy when you are not at home. Or, make your pet work for their meals with do-it-yourself food puzzles made of cardboard, plastic bottles, and other household items, or purchase toys designed to make your furry pal think.
#3: Scrub away oral bacteria
Almost all pets—up to 85% of them—have dental disease by age 3. And, dental disease does not affect only their mouth—oral bacteria can swim through your pet’s bloodstream to attack the heart, liver, kidneys, and lungs. So, resolve to brush your pet’s teeth daily and give them dental-health products, like treats, chews, dental wipes, and food and water additives, to help ward off plaque and tartar. Choose Veterinary Oral Health Council-approved products, which have proven plaque-fighting ability.
#4: Opt for more at-home grooming sessions
A grooming session provides many benefits for you and your furry pal. It’s a great opportunity to bond, and to thoroughly check your pet for any issues. While bathing and brushing your pet, check their skin, eyes, ears, paws, and mouth for abrasions, lumps, redness, or a foul odor. Oftentimes, health concerns are discovered while grooming a thick-coated pet, so give your pet a monthly spa day to help them stay healthy.
#5: Learn new tricks
No matter your pet’s age, they can learn new tricks. Enroll in a training class or join a sports group and add more exercise and enrichment to your pet’s day. Popular activities include:
- Clicker training courses
- Dock diving
- Lure coursing
- Scent work
- Field events
And yes, your cat can also learn to perform tricks. Keep feline training sessions short and always end on a positive note to encourage your cat to keep trying to “win” that high-value treat.
#6: Update microchip information
Have you moved or changed your phone number recently? Share any updates to your contact information with your pet’s microchip registration company to ensure a happy reunion. You should also update your pet’s collar ID tags, especially if they are worn or faded.
#7: Tackle parasite prevention reminders
Do you rely solely on your memory to give your pet their parasite prevention on time? If your memory sometimes fails you, turn to technological reminders. Sign up for reminders through the manufacturer’s website, schedule a repeating reminder in your phone, or ask our team to call you when your pet is due.
#8: Improve your pet’s diet
If your pet has been eating the same food their entire life, it’s time to reassess their nutritional needs, which change as they age. Your pet may benefit from a prescription diet that focuses on heart, liver, or kidney health, or an adult or senior diet that is more appropriate for their life stage. Supplements that improve joint, skin, and urinary tract health may also be good diet additives.
#9: Offer more socialization opportunities
While you may have extensively socialized your pet as a puppy or kitten, those learning experiences may have fallen to the wayside as they grew up. However, socialization and the positive introduction to new experiences should be a lifelong process for pets. Schedule playdates with other friendly pets, hike trails with fresh new scenery, visit a different city area, and continuously introduce your furry pal to various sounds, sights, and scents.
#10: Never forget to schedule your pet’s wellness care
We get it—life is busy and remembering all your important tasks on your mental to-do list is tough. However, you should never forget your pet’s wellness care, which is essential for their ongoing health, early protection against illness, and diagnosis before a disease is advanced, which all help your four-legged friend live a healthier, longer life.
Make 2023 your pet’s best year yet—and ensure many good years to come—by focusing on their health and wellness. Contact our Staples Mill Animal Hospital team for an appointment.
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