As you plan New Year’s Resolutions for yourself, don’t forget to include your pets in those plans! Here are 5 New Year’s Resolutions for pets to help your furry family live happier and healthier for years to come.
1. Help Your Pet Lose Extra Weight and Maintain A Healthy Weight
Did you know that nearly 50% of household pets in North America are considered overweight? Like humans, overweight pets are at an increased risk for a variety of medical problems including diabetes, heart disease, complications from arthritis and even cancer. All those extra pounds also put a lot of strain on a pet’s joints, especially larger breed dogs, which can lead to expensive surgery if they hurt themselves.
If you’re looking for specific ways to help your pet lose weight, there’s a great pet weight loss tool available on PetObesityPrevention.org that gives some useful advice on how to help both dogs and cats beat the bulge. Another easy way to keep tabs on your pet’s weight is by downloading our free pet weight tracker and weighing your pet monthly to keep an eye on any unexplained changes in their weight.
2. Dedicate Time To Your Pet’s Oral Health
Dental health is an extremely important part of your pet’s overall health and longevity. If you skip dental cleanings and don’t maintain your pet’s teeth on a regular basis, it can not only create bad breath, pain and tooth decay — the bacteria in an animal’s mouth can also get into the bloodstream and cause some serious (and expensive) health problems.
This year, make a commitment to brush your pet’s teeth daily or add some dental toys and treats to their routine to help chip away at the plaque and tartar that has built up. If your pet hasn’t had a dental cleaning recently, make an appointment with your vet to see if your pet shows signs of dental disease or tooth decay.
3. Microchip & ID Your Pets!
If your pet is ever lost or slips out of the yard, your best chance of getting them returned safely is to get your pet microchipped and have them wear up-to-date identification at all times. Microchipping your pet is virtually painless and fairly inexpensive, and the microchip itself is only about the size of a grain of rice. The information contained within the chip can be read by any vet clinic or animal shelter if your pet ever gets lost and can help your furry family member get home safe.
You should also make sure that your dog and cat are wearing ID tags at all times that has your current contact information on it. Have you moved recently? Make a point to go check your pet’s tag right now and replace the tag immediately if it’s worn out or has outdated contact information on it.
4. Get Bloodwork Done
Many people think that vets recommend getting blood work done as an unnecessary upsell, but in reality, it’s extremely important to have it done when your pet is in good health to give your vet a baseline reading that they can compare against in the future. As your pet ages, you can often spot early signs of disease and illness through elevated bloodwork readings and get ahead of many health problems before they become major issues. Also, when your vet recommends blood work before going under general anesthetic, they’re doing it so they can make sure your pet doesn’t have an underlying medical issue that could be problematic when going under – so just say ‘Yes’ to pre-surgical blood work!
Once your pet has crept into senior territory, make sure you run your pet’s blood work at least annually, if not twice a year. As pets get older there are many more health issues such as diabetes, thyroid conditions, and diseases of the organs that can be detected in their blood work levels.
5. Get Pet Health Insurance
It’s estimated that only about 2% of Canadian pet owners have pet health insurance to cover unexpected accidents and major illnesses. If you don’t already have an emergency fund put aside to cover these types of medical expenses for your pet, you should think about getting your pet a health insurance plan in the new year so you don’t have to make health decisions for your furry friend based on your financial situation.
There are a number of reputable pet insurance companies in Canada and a wide variety of coverage types depending on your pet’s specific needs. Talk to your Vet to see who they recommend, or you can do some Pet Insurance Research at PetInsuranceReview.ca and get quotes online from most of the major insurance providers and compare for yourself.
Finally, it’s important to understand that vets aren’t earning commission by promoting a specific pet insurance company. You’ll find that most vets recommend having pet insurance since they see first-hand how much of financial strain it can be for pet parents to deal with an emergency surgery or unexpected illness. Your vet wants what’s in your pet’s best interest, and health insurance is another way that you’ll be able to help keep your pet happy and healthy without the financial stress in the years to come.
Want to learn more about ways to help your pets stay happy and healthy? Listen to the Vets To Go Podcast online where Dr. Wendy McClelland talks in more detail about these 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Pets!