The New Year is the perfect time for reflection, intentions, and setting realistic goals. To help maintain and reach your goals, this year, set New Year’s resolutions that you and your pet can work toward together. This win-win for you and your pet can help you both lead happier healthier lives. Our Pierson Pet Hospital team is here to help you and your pet start the year right by sharing our list of New Year’s health and wellbeing resolutions.
#1: Prioritize your health and the health of your pet
Preventive care is essential for everyone’s wellbeing. After you schedule your yearly medical checkup, contact our Pierson Pet Hospital team to schedule your pet’s annual wellness exam. Rather than waiting until you or your pet become ill, take a proactive health approach to ensure potential problems are spotted early. At your annual checkup, your doctor likely performs a physical exam and runs diagnostics, and—to gather important information regarding your pet’s health status—their veterinarian likely does the same, such as performing a blood workup and urinalysis. In addition, your pet’s wellness screen may include the following evaluations:
- Weight — Each time they examine your pet, our veterinary team measures your four-legged friend’s weight, which is recorded in their medical records. To evaluate your pet’s overall musculoskeletal system, the team also performs a body condition assessment.
- Oral examination — Monitoring and maintaining your pet’s oral health is vital, because excessive oral bacteria can damage your pet’s organs. Our veterinary team will recommend an anesthetic dental cleaning if your pet’s gums and teeth appear diseased.
- Vaccinations — Having your pet regularly vaccinated against potentially deadly infectious diseases increases their longevity. Your veterinarian will recommend vaccinations based on your pet’s species, age, and lifestyle.
- Parasite control — External parasites, such as fleas, and internal parasites, such as heartworms and intestinal worms, can cause your pet discomfort and may be deadly. Regular parasite prevention medication prevents your pet from contracting parasite-associated diseases.
#2: Resolve to reach a healthy weight with your pet
Diet and exercise goals are by far the most common New Year’s resolutions for people, and should also be for your pet. More than half the U.S. pet population is classified as overweight or obese, putting pets at risk for many serious weight-related health conditions. If you struggle trying to determine whether your pet is overweight, understand that pets are considered overweight when they exceed their ideal weight by 10% to 20%, but ideal weight is different for each individual pet. If you are resolving to shed some extra weight, this year, take time to assess your pet’s weight, and decide if they should join you in the weight-loss journey. Use a body condition scale (BCS)—a personalized assessment of your pet’s weight and body condition—to help determine if they are at their ideal weight. Follow these tips to help your pudgy pooch shed extra pounds and maintain a healthy weight:
- Calculate your pet’s daily calorie allotment — Pets can easily go over their daily recommended calorie intake. To determine the number of calories your pet needs, use this calorie calculator for your dog or cat to determine exactly the number of calories your pet should eat daily to lose, maintain, or gain weight.
- Measure your pet’s food — Once you have determined the number of calories your pet needs each day, ensure they are receiving the correct food amount, and use an actual measuring cup rather than eyeballing the amount. By doing this, you can be certain your pet is getting a true cup of food—not too little and not too much.
- Exercise daily — Proper nutrition is essential to keeping you and your pet at a healthy weight, and daily exercise is equally important. A daily walk helps you and your pet reach your fitness goals while strengthening your shared bond.
#3: Spend more time with your pet
Who doesn’t want to spend more time with their pet? Life can get busy, and sometimes that means we can’t spend as much time with our pets as we would like. Pets are social creatures and—to support their mental health—they need to interact with you daily. In addition, spending time with your pet is good for your mental health. This year, make time every day to set work aside, put down your phone, and be completely present with your four-legged friend. Go for a walk, play fetch, or give them a good belly rub. However you choose to connect with your pet, be sure that you focus solely on them.
Our Pierson Pet Hospital team understands the challenge of keeping New Year’s resolutions. We can help ensure your pet reaches their 2023 health goals while providing them top-quality veterinary care. Start the new year right by scheduling your pet’s annual wellness exam.