New Year’s resolutions can be a catalyst for positive change in our lives and the lives of those around us—including our pets. While most of us find it fairly easy to meet our pets’ most basic needs, we don’t often stop to think about what we can do to ensure they live a quality life. As 2023 begins, our team at Colony Veterinary Hospital wants to encourage pet owners to make some positive resolutions to further enhance their pet’s life, and offer some ideas to help.
#1: Ensure your pet stays at a healthy weight.
Many of us show our love for our pets with snacks and treats, which can add up to additional pounds. Maintaining a healthy weight plays a major role in your pet’s overall wellbeing since overweight or obese pets are at increased risk of multiple health problems, including osteoarthritis, diabetes, liver disease, endocrine disorders, respiratory difficulties, high blood pressure, heatstroke, and cardiac issues.
Use these tips to ensure your pet stays at a healthy weight:
- Weigh your pet regularly — Because we see our pets every day, we may not notice when they gain weight. Keep track of your pet’s weight by weighing them regularly—ideally, at least once a month—and recording their weight in a notebook or on a calendar. If you notice your pet’s weight increasing, contact our team to discuss weight management foods and strategies.
- Assess your pet’s body condition — You can assess your pet’s weight at home using a body condition score (BCS) that relies on observing your pet from above and from the side, and palpating several of their body areas.
- Calculate your pet’s daily caloric needs — If you aren’t calculating the specific number of daily calories your pet needs, you may be overfeeding them. Use a calorie calculator for dogs or cats, plugging in your pet’s details to see how many calories they should be eating to keep from packing on the pounds.
- Control your pet’s portions — Once you know your pet’s specific daily caloric needs, use an actual measuring cup to prepare their meal to ensure more accurate portion control.
- Cut back on treats — No more than 10% of your pet’s daily calorie allotment should come from treats. If you often use treats to reward your pet, consider other—non-edible—ways to show your appreciation, such as a favorite toy or a belly rub.
- Get moving — Physical activity is essential for weight management and overall health. Aim to exercise your pet for 20 to 30 minutes per day, choosing activities based on their age, fitness level, and preference.
#2: Keep your pet from getting lost
You’ve probably heard that prevention is the best medicine when it comes to your pet’s health, and the same is true for ensuring they don’t go missing. Many owners think their pet will never get lost, but accidents happen, and it’s important to take measures to help ensure you and your pet are reunited. Reduce your pet’s chances of getting lost with these steps:
- Secure the perimeter — If you have a fenced-in yard, look for any places where your pet could wriggle out and ensure the entire yard is secure before letting them play outside unsupervised.
- Check your pet’s identification — Ensure your pet wears a well-fitting collar with updated identification tags at all times.
- Microchip your pet — Microchipping is the best way to ensure your pet’s safe return. If your pet is already microchipped, keep their chip registration up to date in the microchip registry. If not, schedule an appointment with our team to perform this quick, painless procedure.
#3: Schedule regular wellness exams for your pet
Annual wellness exams for pets serve the same purpose as your yearly physical. Ensure your pet is seen by their veterinarian at least once a year so that health issues can be identified in the early stages when they are easier to manage. You want to provide the best care possible for your pet, and regular wellness screenings are the most effective way to keep your pet healthy and improve their quality of life.
Our team at Colony Veterinary Hospital wishes you and your family a happy and healthy new year. Get a jump start on your pet’s New Year’s resolutions, and contact our team to schedule their first wellness exam of the year.