New Year’s Resolutions: Keeping Your Pet Happy & Healthy This Year

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If you’re anything like me, you probably went into 2016 with a few New Year’s resolutions and the best intentions for keeping them. While my resolve to stick with my resolutions often trickles off slowly throughout the year, there is one that I know I will keep: doing everything I can to make sure my cat remains happy and healthy all year long! Our pets play such an important role in our lives and in our families, so it’s up to us to make sure they’re living the best life possible.

In order to make sticking to this resolution even easier, here are a few tips and tricks to help you ensure a happy and healthy year for your furry friends!

Focus on creating a stress-free, loving environment for your pet

Ensuring your pet is in a happy, loving home will have a positive impact on your pet’s health.  According to this All Animals magazine article, “insecurity causes stress, while boredom and lack of sufficient exercise can lead to obsessive or destructive behaviors.”

Regular playtime and affection for your furry friends will exercise their bodies and their minds. Giving them opportunities to “hunt”, wrestle and chase toys around can help prevent your pets from developing behavioral problems. And, we’re able to build a stronger bond with our pets through playtime and interaction.

Help your pet maintain a healthy weight

Excess weight can bring on an array of health problems for your pet. Obesity increases the risk for other serious health problems like osteoarthritis, heart and respiratory diseases, diabetes and many types of cancers. So, we should be mindful of how much our pets our eating each day, and also what they are eating.

Not sure what your pet should be eating? Your vet can help you find out what the ideal body weight is for each of your pets, as well as provide accurate information about the types and correct amount of food they should be eating. Be mindful of feeding your pet table scraps, too, as food and portions that may be appropriate for humans to eat may not contribute to your pets balanced diet in a positive way (although, I know we all want to share with our furry friends!).

Make sure your pet is properly hydrated

Keeping your pets well-hydrated makes a world of difference in their health. Water helps your pet digest food, regulate body temperature, eliminate waste and allows salt and other electrolytes to pass through the body. Keep them looking and feeling good all year, by ensuring their proper hydration. This is especially critical in those summer months when temperatures are high!

You can ensure that your pet is getting adequate water by making sure clean water is always available throughout the house, and in several places. Additionally, a water bowl with a recirculating fountain may be a good way to encourage your pet to drink more, as many pets enjoy the running water.

Don’t skip out on regular vet visits

Regular checkups for your pets are extremely important. In addition to keeping your furry friend up-to-date on all the vaccinations they need to stay healthy, regular visits allow the vet to identify underlying conditions early on that may affect your pet later in life. They allow you to establish a relationship with your veterinarian, and for your veterinarian to get to know your pet – which is critical in helping them understand when something is wrong and identify the cause. And your vet can provide valuable guidance on things such as the ideal body weight for your pet, how much you should be feeding them, and how much exercise your pet should get.  

How often should you take your pet to the vet? Dr. Barry Kipperman (DVM, DACVIM) recommends at least once per year for animals under the age of 10, and twice yearly after that. By incorporating regular check-ups into your pet’s care, you can ensure your pet is in tip-top shape all year round!

So, as you’re focusing on keeping your New Year’s resolutions, think about making one more – to keep your furry friend happy and healthy this year. These tips will help you and your pet have the best year yet!

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