Alison Laurie-Chalmers, Senior Consultant, Crown Vets Inverness
A lot of people think about making good resolutions for themselves at the beginning of each New Year. Here are some ideas that you could think about for your beloved pets:
Dental health is always an on-going concern with our dogs and cats. Many of our pets have dental problems. A regular plaque build-up on their teeth can then result in gum infection and tooth loss. Regular dental 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 tooth brushes available for different sized dogs and cats. It is very important to use a toothpaste that is meant for pets. Also encourage chewing action for good dental health by providing dental chews for dogs and dental health treats for cats. 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 check-up as dental treatment may be required.
Diet and Exercise:
Another very common issue with our pets is obesity. Monitor your pets weight regularly and always weigh out their daily food intake allowance. Always take any additional ‘treats’ out of this daily amount. Feed a diet that has the correct nutritional requirements for your pet’s age, stage and weight. For increased exercise in the daily routine, playing with our pet cats and taking our dogs out for regular walks is always a good way to help burn off these calories.
Starting from an early age, work with your pets regularly on gentle handling training at home. Regularly training and desensitizing them to accept the handling required for procedures such as; ear cleaning, nail trimming, checking foot pads, 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 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. Give your dog plenty of exercise adequate for their age and stage. Handle and play with your pets daily. Use puzzle feeders for daily food or treats, play hide-and-seek with ‘treats’ hidden around the house, etc. This is especially important with our pet cats. In the wild cats will spend most of their day hunting for food. When we provide their diet daily in a static bowl then there is an awful lot of free time available then during the day. Free time can easily then lead to boredom, stress and behavioural issues. It is important to recognise that our pets do need regular, healthy mental stimulation so make sure that they have regular interactive play sessions and exercise.
Make sure that you attend your Vet regularly for routine health checks, vaccinations and preventative flea, tick and worming treatments throughout the year. Regular health checks also mean that any medical conditions can be picked up on early and appropriate treatments will be prescribed as soon as possible.
So schedule a health check appointment in the New Year for your pet, to ensure that you do everything you can do to enjoy many happy and healthy years ahead with them.