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10 New Years Resolutions You Can Make for Your Pet



The start of the new year is often a time of new beginnings, a time to reflect on the previous year and set out to make changes to improve our quality of life. While this often involves healthier choices for us, thinking about some resolutions for your pets can significantly benefit them throughout the year. Check out our top ten New Year’s resolutions for your pet to improve their well-being.


1. Maintain a Healthy Weight

Holidays often bring an excessive number of treats, not only for us but also for our pets. This, combined with the cold weather, can lead to packing on a few extra pounds. Obesity in pets is so common that many people don’t even know what a healthy weight looks like. Even a small amount of weight gain can increase the likelihood of joint problems, arthritis, diabetes, a decrease in mobility, and even some forms of cancer. Resolve to keep your pet an appropriate weight this year or, if they are already overweight, ask us to help you create a weight loss plan that fits your lifestyle. Your pet will be happier and more active without carrying around those extra pounds.

"Even a small amount of weight gain can increase the likelihood of joint problems, arthritis, diabetes, a decrease in mobility, and even some forms of cancer."


2. Schedule Regular Check-Ups

The new year is a great time to plan out what lies ahead, including scheduling any appointments in advance. Pets from one to seven years of age should have check-ups yearly and maintain a regular vaccine schedule. Pets over the age of seven should be examined every six months to address any age-related problems early before they progress. In addition, pets who are on maintenance medications should have monitoring bloodwork to ensure the health of their liver and kidneys. Give us a call if you are not sure when your pet is due for a visit. We would be happy to book out an appointment that fits your schedule and ensures that your pet is getting the care they need throughout the year.

"Pets from one to seven years of age should have check-ups yearly and maintain a regular vaccine schedule. Pets over the age of seven should be examined every six months"



3. Focus On Nutrition


Let’s face it, the holidays are not usually good for anyone’s diet, pets included. We all love to spoil our pets, and one of the best ways we know how is through food. However, those treats and handouts over the holidays are not always in their best interest. Table scraps and “human” treats can cause illness in your pet. Even some commercial treats and pet foods may not be very nutritious due to the minimal regulations in the pet food industry. We would be happy to provide diet recommendations at your next visit or you can give us a call if you have any questions or concerns.



4. Take Care of Those Teeth

Not many people enjoy a visit to the dentist, but most of us know the importance of keeping teeth in good shape. Your pet likely will not complain if their teeth are a problem, which is why dental disease often goes unnoticed in pets. Daily toothbrushing is ideal but not always realistic. Even with regular brushing, many pets need to have professional cleanings done. January is a great time of year to evaluate whether your pet’s teeth will need to be cleaned and figure out a time that works best for you. Regular dental cleanings help protect your pet’s teeth from more serious issues down the road. If you aren’t sure if your pet needs a professional cleaning, give us a call, and we would be happy to discuss their history and exam findings or set up a time to give them a thorough dental exam.



5. Regular Exercise


When January rolls around, many of us lace up our sneakers and hit the gym, excited to start the new year with physical fitness. Exercise is incredibly important for your pet as well. While they probably can’t join you at the gym, there are plenty of ways you can ensure that your pet is getting the exercise they need. For dogs, simple activities like playing fetch, going on walks, and running together are easy to incorporate into everyday life. If the weather and your living situation don’t allow a lot of outside time, dogs can be trained to walk or run on treadmills or encouraged to safely fetch up and down stairs. For cats, there are plenty of toys available to encourage running and chasing, or you can improvise with a small toy tied to the end of a string to be pulled through the house. Encouraging your cat to run and safely jump onto surfaces each day will help them get the exercise and environmental enrichment they need.



6. Go Through the Medicine Cabinet

Your pet may have been prescribed medications throughout the year and old prescriptions are sitting in your medicine cabinet. January is a great time to go through all those bottles, check expiration dates, and get rid of anything that is expired. It is also a great time to review any chronic medications your pet may be on and see what needs to be updated or refilled. Winter weather is likely just around the corner, and no one wants to find out when a storm is on the way that you need to refill medications.



7. Work on a New Skill or Hobby Together


You certainly CAN teach an old dog (or cat) new tricks and it is beneficial for both of you. Your pet will love the quality time spent together, their brain will benefit from the enrichment, and you will enjoy a mental boost as well. Try starting with clicker training – teaching your cat or dog to associate a click with a positive reward. Once your pet associates the click with a reward, the click will mark desired behaviors, making your training sessions more effective. There is an endless supply of tricks and games you can play with your pet, so get creative. Cats can learn to sit, come, or get into a box or carrier. Dogs can learn to play a game of “find it” for treats or toys throughout the house, starting out simple and gradually getting more difficult. You can even try some basic agility training from the comfort of your own home. Many pet owners have found that teaching new skills is addictive for both them and their pet, so give it a try!



8. Update Your Pet’s Forms of ID

January is a time of new beginnings, so take some time to evaluate if you have had any “new beginnings” recently involving your contact information. Have you moved recently? Changed your phone number? Microchips are often placed when a pet is young and then forgotten about, but that chip is linked to contact information that should be updated with the registration company. Check collars and tags to ensure the information is all up to date so if your pet is ever lost, you can be safely reunited.



9. Clean Out Old Toys

Many of us enjoy giving gifts to our pets just as much as to our human loved ones over the holidays. January is a great time to take inventory and purge deteriorating toys and chews. Damaged toys, worn rawhides, and splintered bones can pose a health risk if pieces are ingested. Make room for new gifts by discarding these unsafe items. Always monitor your pet after giving new toys or chews and promptly remove anything that becomes worn or damaged.



10. Pamper Your Pet


Everyone enjoys a little spa time, and January is a great time to look at your pet’s nails and coat to see if they need some sprucing up. Treat them to a pedicure if their nails are looking a little long or go all out and schedule a full spa day complete with a bath and haircut. If your pet prefers to stay comfortably at home, you can learn to do basic grooming yourself. If your pet struggles with nail trims, check out the resources section of our website for a handout on training them to use a homemade scratch pad to file their nails instead. You can also work on counterconditioning to gradually get them used to their feet and nails being handled using the training tips above.



However you choose to spend the start of a new year, it is a great opportunity to take some time to help your pet get 2023 off on the right foot by setting some resolutions for them. After all, a year for a dog or cat equates to roughly seven human years, so how they spend that year is important for their mental and physical health. Take the opportunity to think through these 10 resolutions and see how many you can help your pet accomplish this year. You will enjoy a sense of accomplishment knowing you are keeping your pet in tip-top shape, and both of you will see the lasting benefits that come from making some small changes this year.



MAIN STREET VET, PERKIOMENVILLE 1335 N. Gravel Pike, Perkiomenville, PA 18074 Telephone: 610-287-5100


MAIN STREET VET, SOUDERTON 201 North Main Street, Souderton, PA 18964 Telephone: 215-660-3699


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