The new year refreshes many people’ desire to achieve goals for which they may have fallen short during the previous 12 months. As 2023 begins, refocus and tackle any obstacles that stand in your way. When making your New Year’s resolutions, also include goals for your pet’s health. Read our Westerville Veterinary Clinic team’s recommendations to jump-start your furry pal’s year of wellness.

#1: Strive for daily exercise sessions with your pet

We understand the difficulty of heaving yourself off the couch after a tiring workday, but your four-legged friend needs your encouragement to exercise. Cats are typically active in short bursts, whereas dogs can exercise for longer periods, so time your exercise sessions accordingly. For your cat, briefly flick around a feather wand several times, tempt them to catch a laser light on the floor, or encourage them to chase and pounce on tiny plush toys or balls you toss down the hallway. Depending on your dog’s personality, they may prefer a long walk with plenty of opportunities to sniff, or an intense tug-of-war or fetch session.

#2: Re-evaluate your pet’s diet

Close to 60% of the nation’s pets are overweight or obese, and your pet would likely benefit from an upgraded diet. Choose a high-quality food designed to meet your pet’s health needs and life stage, and feed the appropriate amount. Calculate your pet’s caloric needs, carefully measuring the proper portions for each meal, and choose treats low in fat, sugar, and calories. Many pets enjoy fresh foods, such as apples, berries, green beans, and sweet potatoes. You can also give your pet small pieces of cooked lean meat such as turkey breast. 

#3: Pay close attention to your pet’s behavior

If your pet’s behavior changes, they may have an underlying health issue that is causing them pain, nausea, or other discomfort. If your furry pal starts sleeping more, loses their appetite, shuns interaction, has accidents, or becomes irritable, schedule an appointment with our Westerville Veterinary Clinic team to determine the reason for their unusual behavior.

#4: Set up reminders to stay on top of your pet’s important health care needs

Life is hectic, and you may forget some of your pet’s important health care needs. However, forgetting to administer your pet’s parasite prevention can have serious consequences. By programming recurring reminders in your phone, you will always remember to administer your pet’s flea, tick, or heartworm preventives. In addition, veterinary pharmaceutical manufacturers encourage pet owners to sign up for free email or text alerts that remind you to give your furry pal their preventive medicine on time.

#5: Give your pet’s brain a workout

Focusing on your pet’s physical health is important, but also remember to stimulate their brain. Without adequate environmental enrichment and mentally stimulating activities, your four-legged friend can easily become bored, stressed, and anxious. Give your pet’s brain a daily workout by adding a mental exercise such as:

  • Feeding with a treat puzzle
  • Playing hide-and-seek
  • Allowing your dog to sniff on walks
  • Providing your cat with vertical climbing spaces (e.g., climbing towers, cat shelves)
  • Teaching new tricks and skills
  • Hiding treats around your home for your pet to sniff out
  • Scheduling playdates with other people or pets
  • Engaging your pet with interactive or robotic toys 

#6: Commit to brushing your pet’s teeth

Your pet’s oral health is intrinsically linked to their overall health. You must be diligent with your pet’s dental care to prevent bacteria from attacking your furry pal’s gums, teeth, and oral tissues. This bacteria can eventually also affect your pet’s heart, kidneys, and liver. Most pets have dental disease by age 3 and require annual—or more frequent—professional dental cleanings to remove plaque and tartar accumulation. While an annual dental cleaning provides your furry pal with hygienic oral health, you must also brush their teeth daily to prevent more serious periodontal problems from developing between cleanings. 

#7: Schedule your pet’s annual wellness care

Nothing keeps your pet healthy like regular wellness care. However, depending on your pet’s age and health status, they may need more frequent wellness visits. At your pet’s wellness visit, your veterinarian will provide several key medical services designed to prevent illness and detect early disease. Lifestyle-appropriate vaccinations, parasite testing and prevention, screening tests, and a thorough physical exam are your pet’s best tools for living a long, healthy, and happy life.

No time is better than now to jump-start your pet’s wellness care. Call our Westerville Veterinary Clinic team to schedule your furry pal’s preventive care appointment.