10 New Years Resolutions for Pet Owners

The New Year is the perfect time for setting goals and starting fresh.
For pet owners out there, shouldn’t we be including our furry family members among our top priorities for the New Year? Having pets has been shown to improve both our physical and mental health, so it is only fair to return the favor to our pets. There are many ways we can improve the health of our cats and dogs and the New Year is a great time to get started.

Resolution #1: Make your pet’s weight a priority

Did you know that over 50% of pets in the US are obese! Many people do not even realize that their pets are overweight or obese. Pet obesity in dogs and cats is a major cause of many diseases such as diabetes, joint problems, and respiratory diseases. Have a conversation with us about your pet’s weight and discuss a diet plan if they are overweight. Use a measuring cup to measure your pet’s food every day. Many pet parents ‘eyeball’ their pet’s daily food intake and pour that into a bowl, often resulting in overfeeding and weight gain. Be very careful with the amount of treats you give your pet. Treats may not look like a lot but remember your pets are much smaller than us and require a lot less daily calories.

Resolution #2: Take your dog on more regular walks

Regular walks help both your dog’s physical and mental health. Assuming your dog is healthy enough for this kind of exercise, daily walks are very important to keeping them fit and not overweight. The mental stimulation will also reduce bad behavior and keep them happy. Walking is also not a bad way for us to stay fit too.

Resolution #3: Play with your cat more

Just like dogs, cats need exercise too. New games and toys give cats more exercise and more mental stimulation. Cats have a natural hunting instinct, so playing is very important for indoor cats. Mentally stimulated cats are also less likely to have behavioral problems.

Resolution #4 Set up play dates

Resolve to bring more joy into your pet’s life in 2017. One easy way is by setting up pet play dates. Remember, this is only appropriate if your pet gets along well with other pets and is not aggressive. Call up a friend with a similarly size and friendly pet for a play date. Interaction with other animals is great for your pet’s mental health, and can help vastly improve their social skills.

Resolution #5: Prevent losing your pet

Many pets go missing every year. You should do everything you can to prevent losing your pet. Make sure your yard fence is secure to reduce the risk of your dog getting out. Make sure your pet always has a collar with your phone number on it. Get your pets microchipped and make sure the phone number registered is current.

Resolution #6 Teach your pet to play a new trick

Teaching your pet a new trick can be great for stimulating their brain. It also helps you bond with your pet. Plus, it’s fun to show off your pet’s tricks! Make your pet’s mental health, and overall behavior, a top priority in 2017

Resolution #7: Make time to play

Your pet unconditionally loves you and loves spending time with you. Make it a priority to play with them more in 2017. It will give them some much needed exercise, and will provide you both with some crucial one-on-one time. Everybody is busy, but your pets still need time that’s devoted solely to them. Resolve to play five or 10 minutes a day –  tossing a ball, tugging a rope. The attention makes them feel important and loved.

Resolution # 8: Go to a trainer

Nothing prevents a pet parent from fully appreciating your pet like persistent behavior problems. Identify any issues you have with your pet, like potty training problems or tugging too hard on the leash, and talk with a trainer. Consult with a dog trainer and devote time every day towards working on your pet’s behavioral problems.

Resolution #9: Start a pet savings fund

Pets medical needs can be expensive if they get sick. Start saving up now! There is nothing worse than being in a financial bind when your furry family member has a sudden sickness or injury. Having a pet savings fund will ensure that you never have to compromise when it comes to getting your pet the best care possible.

Resolution #10 Visit the vet regularly

Perhaps the most important resolution for any pet owner to make is vowing to take your pet to the veterinarian at least once a year. As much as we love our pets and pay close attention to them, there can sometimes be things that we can’t see going on underneath the surface. Make sure to take them in for an annual checkup. Remember, they can’t tell us if something hurts. Call us for an appointment 830-438-7800.

Happy New Year from everyone at Spring Branch Veterinary Hospital