New year, new you. Between sweating it out at the gym, packing healthy lunches, and finally sticking to a budget, you have some lofty goals for 2019. Since you’re aiming for the stars anyway, maybe you should add your pet into your New Year’s resolutions this year. Overhauling the same old tired pet care routine can help boost weight loss, reduce dental disease, and increase mental stimulation and overall health and happiness. Here are a few ideas to keep your pet happy and healthy in 2019.
Physical health goals
To ensure your furry companion is in peak health, we recommend scheduling an annual wellness exam to pick up on any changes. During this yearly visit, we can make suggestions based on your pet’s:
- Nutritional needs
- Health status
Once we’ve assessed your pet’s health and needs, we can formulate a comprehensive wellness plan, with recommendations regarding:
- Exercise — Some pets may require intense “workouts,” especially working breeds, to prevent boredom and behavioral issues. Other pets may be satisfied with a light jog or playtime with a favorite toy as daily exercise and enrichment.
- Diet — With so many options, choosing the right food for your pet can be overwhelming. We’ll help you clear up the diet confusion. There are pet foods that can help pets lose weight and alleviate signs of arthritis, allergies, cognitive dysfunction, kidney disease, anxiety, and a variety of other health conditions.
- Vaccination protocol — Each pet receives a different vaccination schedule, tailored to fit her specific lifestyle. Outdoor cats require more protection than indoor cats, and social pups need to be safeguarded against highly contagious diseases that can be found in dog parks or daycare facilities.
- Parasite prevention — Perhaps the easiest, yet most important, part of your pet’s wellness plan is parasite prevention. Fleas and ticks can cause numerous health issues, and you may battle them for months before they finally relinquish their hold on your pet. Routine deworming to prevent intestinal parasites from becoming a pest to your furry friend also helps avoid transmitting these parasites to people within your household.
- Grooming — Thick-coated animals obviously require much more grooming than short-haired pets. Daily grooming may be necessary to keep your pet free from mats, burrs, and tangles. Frequent brushing also helps to distribute oils necessary for healthy skin and coat. In addition to brushing fur, we recommend adding tooth brushing to your pet’s routine. By the age of three, roughly 75 percent of pets have some form of dental disease. Staying on top of your pet’s oral health from a young age will help prevent future health problems down the road.
Mental health goals
Supplying the tools needed for your furry friend to stay in tip-top physical condition is only one part of an annual wellness visit. While mapping out your pet’s health care plan, we also consider catering to the mental and emotional health of your dog or cat. Ensuring that your pet is stimulated and fulfilled mentally and socially can help prevent numerous behavioral issues, which can lead to medical conditions and put a strain on your relationship. Follow these guidelines to create an enriching lifestyle for your pet:
- Learn a new trick, skill, or game.
- Swap out tired, boring toys for exciting, fresh ones.
- Change up your walking route.
- Engage in daily playtime based on your pet’s favorite activity.
- Ditch the food bowl and utilize food puzzles instead.
- Sign up for a training class.
- Schedule play dates (if your pet is social).
- Choose species-specific furniture, like cat towers and scratching posts for cats and cozy kennels and soft beds for dogs.
- Devote more time and attention to your pet.
- Battle anxiety and fear by working with our dedicated team to provide a calm, stress-free home life.
Focus on improving your pet’s mental health to improve her physical health as well. For example, many cats are highly sensitive to stressful situations, which can lead to an inflamed, painful bladder. Utilize appropriate environmental enrichment changes at home to reduce flare-ups in urinary signs. And, dogs tend to be less anxious and fearful if their social, mental, and emotional needs are met.
Formulate a comprehensive wellness plan that encompasses your pet’s physical and mental well-being. Let us help. Schedule your pet’s annual preventive care exam.