iStock_000015159652_LargeThis is the time of year when we reflect on changes we would like to make to improve our health and general wellbeing. As a pet owner, don’t forget to include your furry companion in your New Year’s resolutions.

Many pets struggle with similar issues of weight gain and age-related conditions, which is why including your pet is a great way to bolster energy, manage weight, and increase overall quality of life.

New Year, New Pet Wellness Plan

One of the first ways to begin improving your pet’s health is to schedule an overall assessment with your veterinarian. A thorough wellness exam can include a review of all the factors that influence your pet’s life, such as nutrition and dental hygiene. From these findings, you can get a leg up on all the other wonderful daily care changes you could implement.

An annual exam can also help establish a roadmap to where you would like your pet to be in terms of optimal health. This might include losing a few pounds or adding 20 minutes of playtime or exercise each day.

Please contact the team at Voluntary Veterinary Hospital to learn more or to schedule an appointment.

Pet Resolutions for the Pet Owner

Have you been lax about spending time with your pet? How about sneaking him or her a few extra treats? It’s not too late to re-focus on a healthier, happier life for your best friend.

Here are some recommendations for getting back on track in 2016:

  • Schedule a 20-30 minute walk or game of chase, fetch, or Frisbee each day (you can also add some exercise to your cat’s daily routine with a feather toy or Cat Dancer).
  • Discourage boredom and negative behaviors by offering social opportunities a few times a week, which can include doggy daycare or trips to the park.
  • Maintain good oral health with daily tooth brushing (we’re glad to help with instructions!) along with professional dental cleanings, as needed.
  • Give your pet’s diet a thorough assessment. Cut back on treats and avoid people foods. Select a nutritious, high-quality food, and serve the correct portion size.
  • Sort your pet’s belongings and upgrade toys that have seen better days (along with poorly fitted coats or sweaters), and consider purchasing a more supportive, comfortable bed and/or other winter pet care items.
  • If your pet has been struggling with “only pet syndrome,” you may consider adopting a companion for him or her (also a great way to help reduce the homeless pet population!).
  • Regular grooming helps keep your pet feeling great and is also important to maintaining skin and coat health. Schedule a spa day for you AND your four-legged companion.
  • Adhering to your pet’s vaccination schedule protects him or her from numerous preventable diseases. Don’t forget a year-round parasite preventive, which shields against deadly heartworm disease and other illnesses.

Of all of the important decisions we make on behalf of our pets, being there for them is one of the most meaningful things you can do. After the chaos of the holidays, spend some time with your furry companion. It will bring a sense of calm and joy to both of you.

From all of us at Voluntary Veterinary Hospital, we wish you and your pet a happy, healthy 2016!