A Veterinarian’s Top 5 New Year’s Resolution Recommendations

Dr. Ruth MacPete, DVM

So you’ve made your New Year’s resolutions and you’re ready to start fresh in 2014. But have you thought about making New Year’s resolution for your pets? Our pets also deserve to be fit and to live healthy lives. So, to help our furry friends start out on the right paw, here are some suggested pet-friendly New Year’s resolutions.

1. Help pets eat right and exercise more

The number one New Year’s resolution is to lose weight. Like humans, many pets also suffer from overeating and lack of exercise. This year, think about increasing your pet’s exercise and improving their nutrition. Cut back on treats and table scraps. It is important to realize that each treat or table scrap adds calories. Increasing daily walks will not just benefit your dog but also benefits your own health and fitness goals.  Check out these tips for exercising with your dog.

2. Don’t forget wellness screenings for your pets

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Most people have heard this well-known saying, but many don’t realize that following this advice can help their pets live healthier lives and save them money doing so! Preventative care, which includes regular examinations, lab work, vaccines, dental cleanings, and parasite control, can prevent some diseases from developing or at least detect disease early before it becomes more advanced and causes complications. The earlier a disease is diagnosed, the better the prognosis. Early diagnosis also means the disease may be treated with more standard treatments and may avoid the need for more expensive interventions and procedures. Remember, take your pet to the veterinarian for routine check-up at least once a year. Learn more about the importance of preventive wellness visits for your pet.

3. Help your pet feel good with regular grooming

We all want to look our best and our pets are no exception. Make the commitment in 2014 to provide regular grooming for your pet. Depending on your type of pet, this may include occasional baths, regular brushing, or trips to the doggie salon for haircuts. Don’t forget grooming includes trimming nails, and -- most importantly -- brushing teeth. It’s not just vanity. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily and obtaining regular dental care can keep your pet’s teeth healthy and avoid periodontal disease and tooth loss. 

4. Make your home a pet-safe home in 2014

Our pets depend on us to keep them safe. Clear your house and yard of hazardous chemicals like insecticides, chemical cleaners, rat poison, snail bait, and antifreeze, to name a few. Also, make sure you’re not harboring any toxic plants at home. If you have any questions about whether something is harmful or not, check with your veterinarian or the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center

Be sure to get collars, identification tags, and microchips if your pets do not already have them. All animals, even indoor cats, should be microchipped. Thousands of pets are lost each year and microchips are the best way to ensure your pet a safe return should they become lost.

5. Commit to more quality time 

Lastly, spend more quality time with your pets in the new year. Play with them more, take your dogs on more walks, and of course, don’t forget to snuggle with them. Nowadays there are many dog-friendly places around that let you shop with your pet or even take them to lunch with you. Take advantage of these places and enjoy the time you spend with your pet. Hopefully, you can follow these pet-friendly resolutions to help your pet will start 2014 out on the right paw. 

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.