3 News Year’s Resolutions For Pet Parents
Veterinarian Reviewed by Dr. Janice Huntingford, DVM on January 5, 2018
Posted in Cats
The start of a new year is a time to think about your goals for the immediate and distant future. But regardless of whether your top priority is to make or money or take that vacation you’ve always dreamed of, everyone’s new year’s resolutions have at least one common objective: to be a better person. For pet parents, that begins with being more responsible and attentive to your pet’s needs. But what does this mean, exactly?
Here are three things you can do in 2018 to be a better pet parent:
1. Keep Your Pet’s Weight In Check
Your pet’s risk of obesity increases with age, so you must make sure it consumes the right nutrients and the right amount of food, including snacks and table scraps. If your pet is already overweight, the first step might be a prescription diet that allows your pet to lose only a safe amount of weight. You might have to monitor caloric intake, visit a nutrition specialist or wean your pet off certain foods. This might be difficult at first but your pet will thank you as the years tick by.
Obese pets are more likely to develop myriad debilitating conditions such as arthritis, diabetes or kidney problems. Exercise is equally if not more important, and it becomes a lot easier if you’re trying to lose weight yourself. Your pet will love being a part of your newly active lifestyle, even if it seems to enjoy sitting around more than anything these days.
2. Spend More Time With Your Pet
Spending more time with your pet basically means paying more attention to your pet’s problems, in regards to both health and behavior. You may very well realize that a health problem is significantly more prevalent than you thought. Another problem, like your dog shifting its weight onto one paw or a lump on its belly, might have gone unnoticed without close observation. Behavioral problems have probably been on your to-do list for a while now, and this is the year when you’ll finally take the time to solve them.
You will be pleasantly surprised that the phrase “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks” doesn’t always apply to gradually diminishing problems related to socialization or anxiety, often because the solution lies within an action on your behalf, not your pet’s. Sometimes, the solution involves medication, which brings us to resolution number three:
3. Develop A Closer Relationship With Your Vet
Your vet is the only person you should be listening to when it comes to dealing with your pet’s health. The Internet is crawling with tips from fellow pet parents but aside from you, no one knows your pet better than your vet. So before you implement advice you read or heard about somewhere, ask your vet first. Looking at all these digital articles and social media posts has probably made you wary of numerous potential health risks, and your vet will be happy to answer your questions about every one of them. Want to put your pet on a new diet? Talk to your vet, and he or she will determine the best diet plan for your pet’s needs and expect to be updated on how the diet is progressing on a constant basis.
You should also remember that many illnesses don’t produce symptoms until they become dangerously severe. So even if you are almost positive that a slight change in your pet’s behavior is nothing to worry about, as cliche as it sounds, better safe than sorry.
What’s The Most Important Trait Of A Pet Parent?
These three suggestions appear to tell pet parents to dramatically change their relationships with their pets and become entirely different people in the process. While it’s hugely beneficial to be more attentive and responsible, this can only happen if you maintain the same level of love you’ve always felt for your pet.
As you get older, you might think that it’s not appropriate to be just as doting and concerned towards your pet as you were in previous years but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Talk to your pet, invest in your pet’s well-being, do whatever you (and possibly your vet) feel best expresses your love. You’ll find yourself growing as a person, one who couldn’t be a better choice for a pet parent.
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Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan