Three New Year’s Resolutions to Share With Your Pet

Happy New Year!   Here we are at the start of a new year and a new decade.  Many of us (myself included) see this as a time to identify areas in our lives to make changes and improvements.  We often will enlist family and friends to join and encourage us in our New Years resolutions.  Our pets who are often our best friends and supporters can encourage us and benefit from resolutions also.   Consider including your furry companions in the following ways:

1.Physical Fitness.  Just like people, exercise will benefit our pets physically, emotionally and mentally.  Physically, they benefit from improved cardiovascular function and they sleep better.  They also use more calories promoting weight loss as they improve muscle tone, which supports joint health. Emotionally, they benefit from spending time with you as your bond grows stronger.  And finally, the emotional health of our pets improves as they engage in activity that stimulates the senses and thought processes.  These activities can be as simple as having your kitty chase a laser pointer or a walk or run in the park with your dog though there are many more thing you can do.  Being intentional about weekly or daily activities will, with time, reap wonderful benefits for both of you. (You will be more likely to “stick with it” knowing your pet relies on you.)

2.Diet and Weight Control.  I am sure you’ve seen and heard the recent barrage of commercials in the media for diet and weight loss programs. The obesity epidemic is not restricted to us humans. Various sources report that about 25% of our beloved, furry friends are overweight or obese.  Unfortunately, there is not really a “magic bullet” for this resolution. Just like us, in order to maximize nutrition and control or lose weight our fur babies will need appropriate portions of a good quality veterinary-approved diet.  This may include over-the-counter diets such as Purina, Science Diet, Iams, or Royal Canine available at the grocery or pet stores.  However, veterinarians caring for pets with severe weight issues or other medical conditions may prescribe a veterinary diet.

3.Preventative Medical Care.  Again, like people, regular visits to the doctor for check ups and screening testing when indicated is valuable in maintaining a long, healthier life.  During a well visit, the medical team may identify concerns that with early intervention can be controlled or eliminated.  Also, our pets require regular medication to prevent or control problems such as heartworm disease or flea infestation.  Also, when you find your four-legged friend is not feeling well or is uncomfortable, your veterinary care professionals will work with you to diagnose and treat the problem.

So, here I go, out to the bike trail with my son and our Doberman, Trixie, and Shepherd mix, Lucy.  I am excited to breath the fresh air and enjoy the fauna and flora with my family whether they have two legs or four.