Doctors from ACCES (A BluePearl Veterinary Partners Hospital) encourage you to consider your pet when setting your New Year’s resolutions for 2015. Whether getting back into shape or making that plan to hit the trails, the New Year can signal a fresh start to a healthier routine for pets and owners alike.
“Maybe it is time to focus on finally getting that extra weight off your beloved companion,” said Dr. Beth Davidow, ACCES medical director. “Or, perhaps it is time to schedule that long overdue dental. Just remember that you are your pet’s best advocate and change starts with you.”
The ACCES medical team recommends the following resolutions for you and your pet in 2015:
• Ensure your pet receives an appropriate diet. Weight gain in pets, just like in humans, can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. If you notice your pet has packed on a few pounds or seems lethargic, schedule an exam with your veterinarian to discuss weight loss.
• Schedule an annual exam with your family veterinarian. Even if your pet has never had an illness, these exams are important to establish a good health and can be crucial in detecting emerging disease. For older pets on medications, a yearly exam is an important part of the monitoring process. Anti-inflammatories for arthritis, thyroid supplements, seizure medications, and insulin are some examples of medications that need to be closely monitored.
• Try a to be more active with your pet or incorporate more playtime into your routine. Dogs and cats alike need a healthy amount of activity in their daily lives to keep fit and mentally stimulated, and you too will reap the rewards of more exercise.
• Keep up on your pet’s grooming needs. Brushing your pet helps keep their coat shiny and healthy while providing a unique opportunity to spend quality time bonding with your pet. Untrimmed nails can be painful for your pet while regularly trimmed nails will protect your clothes and furniture.
• Make oral hygiene care with your pet a priority. Dental hygiene is also extremely important. Regular dental cleanings are recommended for both cats and dogs. Some pet owners may be reluctant due to cost and the need for general anesthesia, but the benefits often outweigh the cost. Dental cleanings focus on removing the tartar visible on teeth and can improve the health of gingiva.
• Update your pet’s microchip and tags. Time and time again, lost pets brought to the shelter or emergency animal clinic have out of date tags and microchips. Over the course of a year, people move, get new numbers and forget to update their pet’s tags. Updating ID information is the best way to ensure a lost pet makes its way safely home.
• Pet proof your home and property. Make sure you know what plants and foods are toxic to your pet and keep those well out of reach. Also, make sure electrical cords, strings and other easy to swallow items are safely secured.
For more pet health information and New Year’s goal, visit the ACCES Pet Health Blog at criticalcarevets.com.