New Year’s resolutions for you and your pet
By Dr. Rebekah Frost – OBSERVER Columnist , Observer Today
Happy New Year! January has arrived not only with new snow, but also with the hope of new beginnings and New Year’s resolutions. Every year I make the resolution to eat better and exercise more. Some of the best exercise this time of year includes my pets. My dogs and I enjoy snowshoeing or hiking in our back woods depending on how deep the snow is. You too can include your pets in your New Year’s resolutions! Some of the areas for improvement follow:
1. Diet: Everyone, including our pets, seems to put on a few pounds from the holidays and the long winter days. What better way to improve our health than by watching both our own calorie intake and that of our pets. A place to start with our pets is cutting out unhealthy snacks and table treats. January is Obesity Prevention Month at the Dunkirk Animal Clinic. We promote healthy weight loss by assessing your pet’s body condition score and recommending a diet to help maintain a healthy weight and to give your pet a better quality of life. We also offer a discount on our diet foods for the month of January. Call us for more details.
2. Exercise: Including your pets in your exercise routine is not only good for you and your pets’ physical health but also for your mental health, creating an even closer bond between you and your pets. There are all kinds of great exercises you can do with your pet from just a simple daily walk to crazy new exercises like skijoring or doggie yoga. Snowshoeing and cross country skiing are my favorite winter activities with my dogs Jake, Chili, and Maizy. My favorite summer activities with my dogs include hiking and kayaking.
3. Staying healthy: It is important for us to have yearly physicals, dental cleanings, and other tests as we age; it is important for our pets as well. Consider scheduling your elderly pet for senior testing. This might include routine blood tests, a thyroid test, a chest x-ray and EKG, and an abdominal ultrasound. Underlying conditions can be caught early and managed effectively with this routine testing. It is important for many pets to have yearly dental cleanings. I recommend scheduling pets for a thorough dental exam and estimate for a dental cleaning. I can also discuss ways to improve your pet’s dental health at home.
4. Time with family: Another one of my New Year’s resolutions includes spending more time with my family. Pets are family and it is important to include them in many of our daily activities and give them the time they deserve. This might just be taking them for a ride to run an errand, taking them on a trip with you, or just taking a few minutes each day to play together.
5. Saving money: A big New Year’s resolution many people make is to try to manage expenses and create a budget. I recommend cutting back on unnecessary expenses for your pet like expensive toys, treats, or clothing. Some of the extra money spent on these things could be put into a savings account or an emergency fund for your pet if you are faced with a costly emergency.
6. Giving of yourself: A great resolution for the New Year would be to give of your time and your pet’s time for those in need. Examples would be visiting a nursing home or an assisted living home with your pet. Another great way to give of your time to help pets in need would be to volunteer at one of the local humane shelters, animal rescues, or SPCA. Also consider helping these organizations by fostering a pet or adopting a pet.
Whatever your New Year’s resolution might be, consider how you can include your family pets! Have a safe and happy new year from the doctors and staff at the Dunkirk Animal Clinic.