A lot of people think about making healthy resolutions for themselves at the beginning of each New Year. Here are some ideas that you could think about in 2023 for your beloved pets.
Dental health is always an on-going concern with our dogs and cats. We ourselves clean our teeth daily, however most of our pets do not have this daily oral hygiene cleansing action done. Many of our pets have Dental problems with a plaque build-up on their teeth which can then result in gum infection and tooth loss. Regular Dental hygiene and healthcare is as important for our pets as it is for ourselves, so, you can start the New Year by getting your pet used to regular teeth brushing. There are a variety of pet toothbrushes available for different sized dogs and cats, it is important to use an advised "pet" toothpaste and not normal "human" toothpaste. Also, encourage a strong chewing action to clean their teeth by using advised dental chews and treats. If you are unable to check or brush your pet’s teeth at home, then do arrange for an appointment at your Vet clinic for a Dental check-up, as Dental treatment may be required to avoid progressing Dental disease.
Another very common issue with our pets is Obesity. Many pets gained weight over the Covid restriction years, and after the Christmas/New Year festivities, we undoubtedly will see an increase in some of our patient’s weights in their New Year checks, due to additional “treat” giving. Monitor your pet’s weight regularly and feed a diet that has the correct nutritional requirement for your pet’s age, stage, and weight, and at the correct and guided amounts. Feed only their required amounts, weighing out their food in grammes for every meal, remembering to always include any additional “treats” into this total advised daily amount. Encourage exercise in the daily routine, regularly playing with our pet cats, and taking our dogs out for regular exercise and walks is always a good way to help burn off calories.
Work with your pets regularly on gentle "handling training" at home. Do start this early from a young age, regularly training and desensitizing them to accept the handling required for procedures such as ear cleaning, nail trimming, checking paws, pads, and nails, cleaning eyes, grooming coats, and for dental checks and teeth brushing. We can train our pets early on to accept a variety of these care and hygiene handling procedures at home. Ultimately this will mean that handling for these checks will be less stressful for you, for your pet, and for your Vet!
Find fun ways to engage your pet’s mind. It is important to recognise that our pets do need regular, healthy mental stimulation, so do make sure that they have regular interactive play sessions and exercise. Handle and play with your pets daily and give your dog plenty of daily exercise adequate for their age and stage. Use puzzle -feeders for food or treats, and you can also play hide-and-seek with “treats” hidden around the house. This is especially important with our pet cats, especially indoor cats that don't have the exercise that they would do in the wild. Also to encourage mental stimulation, change your pets’ toys about regularly to encourage and stimulate play.
Lastly remember the importance of Preventative Pet Health. Make sure that your pet attends your Vet regularly for regular general health checks, preventative vaccinations and preventative flea, tick and worming treatments throughout the year. Regular health checks also mean that any new medical conditions can be picked up on early, and hopefully any appropriate further tests and treatments given.
Schedule a general health check-up appointment in the New Year for all your lovely pets, to keep them in tip-top health in 2023.