HAPPY NEW YEAR!
The New Year is a great time for self-reflection, positive change and fresh starts – who couldn’t use that after the past two years we’ve had!? Just like their pet parents, pets can also benefit from starting new, healthy habits. It’s safe to say that one thing that has kept many people encouraged during this challenging time is the companionship and love of their pets.
New Years resolutions don’t have to feel like a slog… making a change – big or small – to your pet’s lifestyle doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Even making the tiniest adjustment to your pet’s routine now can pay off later – old habits die hard, but good habits add up over time. With your trusted companion by your side, these resolutions can be a lot of fun to accomplish.
1. WALK YOUR DOG DAILY AND MAINTAIN A HEALTHY WEIGHT
It’s maybe the most common New Years resolution on earth – losing weight. Just like humans, it’s important for pets to maintain a healthy weight.
Resolve to spend more time outside playing, walking and exploring the world – even when the weather is cold. Just make sure your dog is warm enough and that you avoid winter dangers, especially salted sidewalks and roads. Plus, it’s a good opportunity to socialize and make new furry friends!
New Years is the Perfect Time to Get Serious About Your Pet’s Weight Loss.
Pet obesity is mostly attributed to improper feeding habits: overfeeding, too many high-calorie treats and table snacks. Obesity has detrimental effects on the overall health and life span of pets, including osteoarthritis, diabetes and dermatological issues affecting skin, hair and coat. Many of these diseases can be avoided by maintaining a healthy weight.
If you’ve noticed your dog or cat has ‘expanded’ over the past year, take this opportunity to face the scale and make a New Years weight loss plan. Consult with our veterinarians to determine the best weight loss regimen for your pet. We can calculate the appropriate amount of calories your pet needs for daily requirements as well as the percentage of caloric decrease required for weight loss to avoid hunger or losing weight too quickly.
We can all pack on pounds during the holiday season – pets included. Exercising is always more fun with our furry friends, so head outdoors with your dog, get your heart rate up and stay fit!
Remember BodyBreak? Here’s some inspiration – and true 90’s Canadiana nostalgia – to get outside with your dog:
2. REVIEW YOUR PETS DIET FOR A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE
The New Year is the perfect time to perform a pet food audit to evaluate what, when and how much your pet is eating. This ensures that your pet is eating the proper diet for their age and nutritional requirements. Choosing a diet specifically tailored to your pet’s life stage is a great way to keep them in optimal health.
Have you walked down a pet store’s food aisles lately?
The choices of what to feed your pet are seemingly endless, sometimes making time-strapped pet parents just throw up their hands and pull the nearest bag off the shelf. But cats and dogs have very specific nutrition and diet requirements for how much protein, fats, carbohydrates and calories they need each day.
Regular nutritional evaluations are a critical link in the chain of preventive care for pets. Prescription or therapeutic diets are a core part of an overall pet health and preventative care strategy.
Before we make any specific food recommendations, regular examinations help us determine if there are any underlying issues or emerging threats that may require a dietary adjustment. Once a baseline of your pets’ health is established, only then can we make suggestions on a proper dietary pathway.
Our veterinarians are independent thinkers and recommend products – including non-prescription diets – they feel will best serve their patients’ needs.
We encourage all of our clients to have an open, honest discussion with our veterinarians about your pet’s nutritional needs to find the optimal diet for your pet.
3. MAKE YOUR PETS DENTAL HEALTH A PRIORITY
If one of your New Years resolutions is to improve your own oral health, why not include your pet as well? Just like you go to the dentist for an annual appointment, your pet should have their teeth examined by our veterinarians at least once a year, as oral health is an important factor in their overall health and happiness.
If you’re a real keener, one of the best resolutions you can make in the New Year is to begin an at-home dental care routine.
Here’s a quick, at-home dental care primer:
At your next appointment, we would be happy to go over proper procedures and recommend the best tools.
Symptoms of oral health problems:
- Bad breath
- Yellow or brown crust on tooth surface
- Bleeding gums
- Change in chewing habits
- Tooth loss
If you observe any of these conditions, please make an appointment with us as soon as possible. That way, we can alleviate any further dental deterioration and get your pet on the right path to a healthy mouth.
4. CONDUCT A ‘PET TOXINS IN THE HOME’ AUDIT
It’s no secret that pets are inquisitive. However, that same curiosity can be hazardous to their health. The New Year is the perfect time to do a quick assessment of the potential pet toxins in your home.
How do animals investigate new things? By ingesting them. As a pet parent, you want to keep your furry friend safe and healthy, but your pet’s curious nature can sometimes get them into trouble.
Common Examples of Pets Toxins in the Home:
- Over-The-Counter Medications (ie. ibuprofen, acetaminophen and diet pills)
- Prescription Medications (ie. AAHD medication, antidepressants)
- Cleaning Products
- Paints and Solvents
- Plants (ie. azaleas, rhododendrons)
- Food, including bones
- Essential Oils
- Rodent Poisons
- Lawn and Garden Products (ie. fertilizers and herbicides)
The AAHA website has an excellent rundown of the potential toxins in your home. Keep in mind that some household products we typically think are safe may pose a risk to your pet. Use some common sense and planning – it can go a long way to prevent dangerous exposure for your cherished furry family member.
What to do if your pet is poisoned?
During regular business hours, call us immediately. Time is crucial for successfully treating accidental poisoning. If your pet is poisoned outside our regular hours, please call the nearest emergency clinic. CALL TO ACTION LINK TO EMERGENCY PROCESS
5. BUY PET INSURANCE
50% of all pets will have a major illness in their lifetime. Fortunately, they have access to better treatment than ever before. Advances in technology and training have extended the lives of our beloved pets the world over.
Purchasing pet insurance means that you have to imagine the possibility of an unforeseen medical, worst-case development involving your beloved pets health. You shouldn’t have to worry about how to pay for the best veterinary medicine available when the unexpected arrives at your doorstep.
However, treatment can be pricey – unexpected veterinary bills can add up to thousand of dollars. We’ve seen pet insurance enrolment notably rise in North America and also locally in Cabbagetown – more pet parents are taking the step to protect their pet – and their wallet – then ever before. Having pet insurance ensures you don’t have to make a decision about your pet’s health based on your financial situation.
What better way to budget for the coming year by saving money on unexpected veterinary expenses? Pet parents say they want to be better prepared for the unexpected – they can now choose from a variety of plans from various carriers that will meet their needs and fit every budget.
Trupanion Canada is our preferred pet insurance partner – one of the largest providers in Canada. We like it because they keep pet insurance simple by offering a single (and excellent) pet insurance plan that will cover the needs of most pet parents.
Ask us how to receive 30 days of FREE coverage at your next appointment
6. REVIEW YOUR PET’S MICROCHIP ID INFORMATION
The New Year is a great time to make sure the information on your pets’ microchip ID tag is up to date. Furthermore, if you’ve been considering a microchip for permanent identification, now is the time to do it.
Hopefully, your cherished furry family member will never go missing. If it happens, the microchip implant will give you the best chance of a swift, joyful reunion.
Five Benefits Of Microchipping Your Pet:
- Collars and tags can break or get lost.
- Microchips are made to last the life of your pet – up to 25 years.
- Peace-of-mind. Successful scans result in reuniting you with your pet as soon as possible.
- If your pet gets lost, it is far less likely to be euthanized or re-homed.
- It’s low-cost, reliable proof of ownership in cases of theft.