New Year’s Pet Resolutions
Happy New Year!
In addition to making and keeping resolutions for yourself, don’t forget to take stock of your pet’s needs for this new year and make a resolution to keep him or her healthy. Let’s look at three important health resolutions to keep for your pet. First, we’ll go over routine vaccine and exams. Secondly, we’ll look at blood work and dental care. And finally we’ll discuss exercise and training.
One of the most important things you can do for your pet is to get him an annual exam. If you already take your pet in once a year—great! Be sure to review your calendar and mark the date of your next appointment. If your pet is geriatric (8 years and up for cats and dogs), you may need to bring in your cat or dog twice a year. This is because your pet ages fast, and chronic or acute illnesses can present themselves in a shorter time than a year. In the exam, your veterinarian will check your pet’s skin, eyes, ears, heart, lungs, abdominal area, and ask you question about your pet’s diet and history. Vaccines will need to be updated, and a fecal test performed. Check your pet’s vaccine history with last year’s records or call your vet to find out when his or her next shots and tests are due. By law, all dogs, cats, and ferrets must be vaccinated against rabies, so be sure that this vaccine is kept up to date. If you pet has already had the one year version of the rabies vaccine, she may now have the 3 year rabies vaccine. Vaccines aren’t the only reason to bring your pet to the vet this year, however.
During your pet’s exam, your vet may bring up blood work. If your pet is having any health issues, is taking certain medications, or is geriatric, he may need to have blood work done. These lab tests can find out more details on your pet’s health. Typically, these tests will look for signs of infection, kidney disease, liver disease, and more. If your pet is geriatric, she may need to have blood work done twice a year. Of course, blood work isn’t just for older pets. A young dog or cat may need blood work to establish a baseline of that pet’s typical health so it can be compared to later tests. Also, during the exam, your vet will check your pet’s teeth. If your pet needs a dental, be sure to schedule it. Dentals are typically performed under anesthesia, so this will need to be scheduled in advance. If your pet has not had blood work yet, it will be done prior to the dental. Of course, not everything done for your pet’s health need to occur in the veterinary clinic.
Your vet will examine your pet for obesity. If your pet is under or overweight, your vet will recommend an appropriate diet. If your pet is obese, it will be up to you to get your dog or cat exercise. Make a resolution to set aside time each day to walk your dog or play with your cat. Cats benefit from play-hunting toys, and dogs benefit from walking, running, and enjoying games with their owners. Sign your dog up for outdoor sports with others. Both you and your dog will get much needed exercise and mental stimulation. This is also a good time to make another crucial resolution: training. A well-trained dog is one that is happy to comply with simple commands. For a dog that walks in public, it is a necessity to have a dog that will not attack or jump on other dogs or people. If you need outside help, take your dog to obedience classes. By providing your pet with training and exercise, you ensure a mentally happy and well-adjusted pet.
As you can see, pets need for you to make a New Year’s Resolution for their health and wellbeing as you make resolutions for yourself. Make a resolution today to take your pet to the vet for his or her annual exam, vaccines, blood work, and any dental or procedures that he or she may need. Be sure to feed your pet a vet-recommended diet, and resolve to ensure your pet is well-socialized and mentally enriched, as well as getting plenty of exercise. From all of us and the Animal Hospital of Lynnwood and Animal Wellness Center, have a wondrous, joyous, and shining New Year with your pet!