PET ADVICE: Resolve to Make This a Happy and Healthy New Year for your Pets

As the holidays wind down and the new year begins, what plans do you have for giving your pets the best year ever? After all, don’t they deserve it?

Here is a suggested list of resolutions every pet owner should adopt for 2012:

  • Don’t neglect routine vet care! Skipping yearly routine visits to the vet may end up costing you money in the long run, and costing your pet a few less years in his life. Keeping up with vaccinations and parasite prevention isn’t just smart, it’s essential!
  • Do commit to exercising your pet daily. While “I’ll start exercising tomorrow” may be your mantra, it is up to you to make sure that doesn’t carry over to your pet’s routine. Tomorrow isn’t good enough. All pets need a regular dose of exercise every day, whether it’s a 15-minute walk with your dog or a game of laser chasing with your cat, you need to get your pet up off the couch and working toward fitness. Not only is exercise good for her health, but it also staves off behavior problems in bored dogs and cats with unspent energy.
  • Don’t let your pet fall victim to household dangers. Take some time this month to do some pet proofing. Just as you would if you had a toddler underfoot, you need to make sure all hazardous products are safely out of reach for your curious kitties or inquisitive pups. Also, check all window screens. Are they secure? Tragically, this is overlooked all too often. A squirrel in the yard or a bird landing on the windowsill is all it takes for the hunter in your pet to surface and send your dog or cat soaring through the window.
  • Do spay or neuter your pet. The health benefits of spaying/neutering include a decrease in cancers for both male and female dogs and cats and less cases of problematic urine marking in males.
  • Don’t forget to adjust your pet’s diet according to his age and size. What was good for Fido at five simply may not be good for Fido at 10. Check with your vet to see if any adjustments should be made. Keep in mind, fat is not cute. When it comes to overweight pets, it is just the catalyst for a whole slew of problems, including diseases like diabetes and heart disease, as well as joint problems.
  • Do get your pet micro chipped. At the very least, make sure your dog or cat is wearing an up-to-date ID tag at all times.
  • Don’t neglect grooming. Even if your cat spends half her waking hours primping and fussing over herself, don’t assume that’s all she needs. Cats and dogs both need at least an occasional brushing and toenail trim. Check their coats for hot spots, bumps, cuts, etc., too.

Is the list a bit long? Perhaps. Is your beloved pet worth it? Undoubtedly.  Here’s wishing a happy new year to all of our furry friends!

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