2023 is here, and what better time to set realistic goals that will enhance not only your life, but also your pet’s? New Year’s resolutions aren’t only for people—they should be commitments to small, healthy changes in the year ahead for you and your pet. Here are a few do’s and don’t for pet-friendly New Year’s resolutions from our team at Town & Country Animal Hospital

DO step up your pet’s dental care game

Your pet’s stinky breath may be more serious than you think. Mouth odor is one sign of periodontal disease, which is commonly diagnosed in petsalmost all have dental disease signs by age 3. Left unchecked, the problem will progress and cause serious problems in pets as they age. 

Without an effective dental care routine, your pet can suffer poor oral health, pain, inflammation, and expensive teeth extractions down the road. Commit to improving your pet’s dental hygiene and health with a two-pronged attack that combines at-home and professional dental care. 

  • Brush your pet’s teeth — Bacteria in your pet’s mouth form plaque, which must be removed before hardening into tartar, and toothbrushing is the best way to achieve this. Use a pet-specific toothpaste in an appealing flavor, such as chicken, fish, or mint, that is safe for your pet to swallow. Daily brushing is recommended for maximum benefit, but three times per week is also beneficial.
  • Give your pet dental treats and chews — Dental chews are typically pliable, and allow your dog’s teeth to sink in for maximum scrubbing action. We recommend using only products that carry the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval. 
  • Schedule regular dental exams — Most veterinarians recommend an annual professional oral examination that is usually included in your pet’s annual wellness check to look for early dental disease. If your veterinarian sees dental disease signs, such as tartar buildup, they will recommend that your pet’s teeth be professionally cleaned and checked for problems.

DON’T miss your pet’s wellness exams

Some pet owners think their pet needs veterinary care only when they are sick or injured, but routine wellness exams are essential for maintaining a pet’s overall health and wellbeing. Your pet’s annual wellness exam can detect early disease signs that your veterinarian can diagnose and treat before they progress. We know that remembering to schedule your own yearly physical can be a challenge, but preventive care is one of the best ways to ensure you and your pet live a long, healthy life.

DO help your pet stay lean

Chubby pets can be endearing, but excess weight is no laughing matter. A few extra pounds can increase your pet’s risk of a variety of weight-related health conditions, including:

  • Diabetes 
  • Heart disease 
  • Hypertension 
  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Urinary bladder stones
  • Heat stroke
  • Anesthetic complications 

Help your pet shed weight and live a happier life in the new year with these simple steps:

  • Ask your veterinarian for a diet recommendation.
  • Use a measuring cup to accurately portion out your pet’s food.
  • Feed your pet small meals instead of “free feeding.”
  • Exercise your pet every day.
  • Monitor your pet’s body condition and adjust their food intake as needed.

DON’T  forget your pet’s mental health

Your pet’s mental health is as important as their physical health. Bored, anxious pets often become destructive or develop long-term behavior problems, but enrichment activities can channel their mental energy and improve brain health. This year, provide your pet with an outlet for their natural behaviors and support their mental health with enrichment activities such as:

  • New scenery — Spice up your daily walk by exploring a new trail or neighborhood and trying out different terrains and landscapes.
  • Food puzzle toys — These problem-solving toys keep your pet active and reward them with a yummy treat when they decipher the puzzle. 
  • Training — Teaching your pet a new trick will keep their brain sharp and strengthen your bond. 
  • Playtime Play and interact with your pet! Social engagement is often overlooked during busy times, but is essential for your pet’s mental health. 

Our Town & Country Animal Hospital team wishes you and your pet a healthy and happy New Year, and we look forward to being a part of your pet’s healthy year by providing the quality veterinary care they deserve. Contact us if you have questions or concerns about ensuring your pet thrives, or to start 2023 off right by scheduling their wellness check.