If, like many others, you made New Year resolutions for 2023, consider adding resolutions for your pet. Our team at Columbia Pike Animal Hospital is here to help you and your pet start the year off on the right foot—and paw—with resolution ideas for the New Year that will help keep you and your pet healthy.
#1: Resolve to try new things with your pet
Sure, pets like a daily routine, but they also appreciate occasional variety. Switching things up and trying something new will keep your pet mentally and physically engaged, which are both essential to their overall health and wellbeing. So, why not try a new activity—or several—with your pet? Research activities you’d like to try, such as hiking or canoeing, ensure you and your pet have the necessary safety and weather gear, and check with our veterinary team to ensure your pet is healthy enough for the planned adventure. New activities will strengthen your bond with your pet, and you may both discover something new that you enjoy, as well.
#2: Resolve to microchip your pet or update their identification
Ensure you and your pet always stick together by having them microchipped. If your pet already has a chip, contact the registration company to ensure their information is current. Remember that a microchip does not mean your pet does not need to wear a collar with identification tags with current contact information, but the minuscule implanted microchip provides another layer of security for a reunion with your lost pet, since the chip is permanent and can’t fall off like a collar.
#3: Resolve that you and your pet will get fit
Overweight pets live, on average, 2.5 years less than ideal weight pets. Only a few extra pounds can subtract years from their life, making getting fit an important New Year’s resolution for you and your pet. To determine if your pet is at a healthy weight, weigh them on a scale. Also, assess their physical condition with a body condition scale using this easy three-step method:
- Palpate the ribs — You should be able to easily feel each rib with only light pressure.
- Look for a waistline — When viewed from above, your pet should have a defined, hourglass-shaped waist.
- Assess their silhouette — When viewed from the side, your pet should have a slight tuck or upward abdominal slope.
If your pet’s body condition is less than ideal, your veterinarian can evaluate their health and provide a personalized weight loss plan that may include:
- Special diet — Diets with fewer calories and increased protein and fiber can help your pet feel full, despite the lower calorie intake. You can also switch to low-calorie treats and limit the amount of your pet’s daily treats.
- Exercise — Regular exercise is essential for any weight-loss plan. Ensure your pet gets enough daily physical activity according to their breed, age, and size. Our team can help you with an appropriate exercise regimen for your pet. The exercise will be good for you, too.
- Food puzzles — If your pet gulps down their food, try feeding them with a food puzzle that will make them eat more slowly, yet feel fuller.
#4: Resolve to regularly polish your pet’s teeth
People aren’t the only ones who benefit from good dental habits. Make a resolution to manage your pet’s dental health in 2023, because periodontal disease is the most commonly diagnosed dental disease in pets. Disease results when plaque builds up on the teeth, traps bacteria near the gum line, and over time hardens into tartar. The tartar continues to build and attract more bacteria, causing gum inflammation that progresses to infection, tissue erosion, and—ultimately—bone and tooth loss. Like you, your pet needs at least an annual comprehensive oral health exam and dental cleaning—scheduling an appointment for your pet will remind you to schedule your own dental checkup.
Your pet, also like you, needs an at-home dental care routine. Pet toothbrushing involves:
- Daily brushing — Pet-specific, pet-safe toothpastes are available in appealing flavors, such as chicken, fish, or mint that will make toothbrushing appealing to your pet. Brushing daily is recommended, but three times per week can be beneficial.
- Dental chews and treats — Dental chews are typically pliable, allowing your dog’s teeth to sink in for maximum scrubbing action. We recommend using only products that carry the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval.
No matter what you decide for your pet this year, remember that the best resolutions are ones that support your pet’s health and wellbeing with high quality preventive care. Contact Columbia Pike Animal Hospital to schedule your pet’s annual wellness exam, microchip procedure, or professional dental cleaning. Happy New Year!