Dr. Stone’s Pet Corner New Year’s resolutions, pet style

Dr. Michael Stone, Oak Harbor Veterinary Hospital

        While most of us spend the time after Christmas thinking of our resolutions (and promising ourselves they will stick!), have we ever stopped to think that we should make some resolutions for our pets?
        Maybe this year we should work on a “new them” as well as a “new me.” Here are some of the easiest ways to help make the next year the best it can be for our pets.
        • Measure your pet’s food – every time. Many owners “eyeball” their pet’s daily intake and pour that into a bowl, usually resulting in overfeeding and weight gain. It’s important to use an actual measuring cup to ensure your pet isn’t taking in more calories than they need.
        • Choose an age-appropriate diet. Choosing a diet specifically tailored to your pet’s life stage is a great way to keep them in optimal health.
        • Try a new activity with your pet. From hiking, to kayaking to even just birding in the backyard, it’s easier than ever for people to include their pets into a new exercise routine. It’s a great way to bond; it will get both of you out of the house, and both owner and pet will reap the rewards of healthy physical activity.
        • Incorporate more playtime into your route. Cats love the thrill of chasing a laser toy; just don’t tell them it’s exercise! Toys that trigger a cat’s predatory instinct are a great way to get them off the couch and engaged in a little aerobic activity.
        • Make a date with your vet. Yearly examinations by the veterinarian are a key component of good preventative care. Many medical conditions, such as diabetes, arthritis or obesity, are common in aging pets and are much easier to manage when detected in the early stages of the disease process.
        • Groom your pet daily. Brushing your pet serves many purposes, including removing excess fur from the coat, and reducing the amount you find on your clothes and furniture.
        • Practice good oral hygiene habits with your pet. Daily toothbrushing is the best way to keep tartar and plaque at bay – just be sure to use a toothpaste meant for dogs and cats.
        • Teach an old dog a new trick. Studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in aging animals. Teaching your pet new tricks and practicing those they already know are a great way to keep those neurons firing. Puzzle feeders, which force a pet to think through a task in order to be rewarded with a treat, are also an excellent way to keep a pet’s mind engaged.
        • Update Pet ID info. Over the course of a year, a lot can change – people move, get new phone numbers, etc., and they often forget to update their pet’s ID tags. Often, they only remember if the pet becomes lost. If any of your contact information has changed in 2020, don’t forget to update pets’ tags and microchip information. It’s the best way to ensure a lost pet makes its way home safely.
        Contact Dr. Stone at Oak Harbor Veterinary Hospital, Inc., 1386 S. SR 19, Oak Harbor, 419-898-3411. Visit oakharborvethospital.com for details.


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