It’s January again and that usually means time to make a resolution or two for the New Year. How about a resolution for your pet this year too? Our furry family members give us so much; here are some ideas on resolutions for your pet.
- Weight Loss?
– Did you know that 50% of pets in the United States (I think we can safely extrapolate that to Canada too) are classified as overweight. If you think your pet might be overweight you can schedule an appointment with your vet to assess their body condition and then evaluate the type and amount of food that they are eating and plan out a diet plan together!
– Related to weight loss is exercise! This could mean another walk for your canine friend or just going a few houses further. Don’t forget about your cats too (especially indoor cats) – cats can benefit greatly from playing with toys with you even for just 5 minutes a day. It’s important to encourage indoor cats to exercise to maintain a lean waist and good muscle mass.
- Check your pet’s ID
– Make sure your pet’s tag on their collar has your up to date information (i.e. phone number) in case of getting lost. Many of the rabies tags used today have a smart phone application called a QR code which can be scanned. You can register your pet with these applications as well. And finally this is an easy one to forget – make sure your pet’s microchip information is up to date. This needs to get updated with the company every time you move or change phone numbers. If you’re not sure about your pet’s microchip number you can bring them to your vet to get scanned to double check.
– Grooming is great for the physical comfort of your pet but can also be a great opportunity for bonding time. Grooming can also be a good opportunity for you to pick up any skin infections or masses that develop early. Another key part of grooming is trimming your pet’s toenails – it is important to keep nails short to prevent them from catching, etc. Remember cats need their nails trimmed too. If you aren’t sure about how to trim your pet’s nails give us a call – our wonderful technicians can teach you how to do this!
- Brushing their teeth
– This won’t be possible with all dogs and cats but is extremely beneficial to both their oral and overall health if your pet will allow you to brush their teeth. Ideally the teeth would be brushed once daily using pet toothpaste. This does work best if you start when your pet is a puppy or kitten to get them used to it. If your pet absolutely will not allow you to brush their teeth there are many alternative means such as dental formulated kibble, special dental chews or water additives that can help keep teeth and breath at their best. Don’t hesitate to ask us for any suggestions!
- Scoop the kitty litter daily
– Cats have a very strong sense of smell and would appreciate their litter box being cleaned every day. Don’t forget too that if you have multiple cats you should have one more litter box than you do cats (i.e. two cat household should have three litterboxes in different locations).
– Are you feeding your pet the right diet for their lifestage? The age of your pet, level of activity and their breed might affect what diet they should be eating. For instance, puppies and kittens should be eating a development diet and senior pets should be eating a senior diet. Be aware of diets that are classified as all lifestage – a puppy and a senior dog do not have the same nutritional requirements.
- Heartworm/Parasite Prevention
– It’s not always easy to remember this with our busy lives. Dogs should have a heartworm and tick borne disease test done in the spring and then go on monthly preventative treatments from the spring to the fall to prevent heartworm, fleas, gastrointestinal parasites and in some cases ticks. Outdoor cats may also need heartworm, flea and gastrointestinal parasite prevention. Resolve to not only give your preventative monthly treatments this year but to do it on time – a great trick is to program a monthly reminder right into your smart phone!
- A check-up!
– Pets should have a physical examination once yearly with their family veterinarian. This is important for preventative care which is important in preventing serious illnesses. Your veterinarian can recommend vaccinations and possible preventative care testing (such as fecal exams, bloodwork or urine tests) based on your pet’s breed, age and lifestyle. Many diseases such as diabetes, renal disease and obesity are easier to manage if diagnosed early in the course and of course we want your pet to live a long, happy life!