While your pet’s New Year’s resolutions may run along the lines of “eat more bacon” and “claim the couch for myself,” the resolutions you make for them should focus on their wellness. To help you create resolutions for your pet, our Stack Veterinary Hospital team put together 10 wellness-focused goals to ring in the New Year.

#1: Resolve to help your pet shed those extra pounds

Weight loss is one of the most common New Year’s resolutions, especially after overindulging during the holiday season. Helping your pet reach—and maintain—a healthy weight reduces their risk for many health problems, including osteoarthritis, skin infections, urinary tract infections, heart disease, hypertension, and some cancers. So, although the temperatures in Syracuse are less than pleasant, resolve to head outdoors for extra exercise with your pet. Try a new outdoor activity with your dog, like flyball, treibball, or lure coursing. Or, head to a different park or trail than the one you normally visit. Fun indoor activities that cats and dogs can enjoy include:

  • Nose work — Although dogs are usually more motivated than cats when it comes to smells, try hiding strong-smelling treats around your home and encouraging your pet to search for them. For your cat, a catnip toy may work better. 
  • Training sessions — Has your pooch forgotten how to sit on command? Use the blustery weather as an opportunity to brush up on old skills and teach new ones.
  • Interactive toys — If you are struggling to find enough time to devote to daily exercise for your pet, try an interactive toy. Robotic prey animals like mice can entice your cat into stalking and pouncing, while a ball launcher can keep your pup occupied for an afternoon.

#2: Resolve to brush your pet’s teeth daily

Good oral health is crucial to your pet’s overall health. Left unchecked, oral bacteria can travel throughout your pet’s body, attacking their heart, kidneys, and liver. Strive to brush your pet’s teeth at least two or three times a week, but daily is best. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush or finger brush and pet-friendly toothpaste without fluoride. Slowly introduce the toothbrush and paste to your pet, and they’ll come to view toothbrushing as a tasty treat session.

#3: Resolve to challenge your pet’s mind

It can be boring being a house pet left alone for a large chunk of the day. Keep your furry pal entertained by using food puzzles and long-lasting chews or treats. When you are at home, you can encourage your pet to use their brain through training, agility, and other fun games, like hide-and-seek. 

#4: Resolve to socialize your pet

Socialization refers to the process of acclimating your pet to other animals, people, places, and activities, and ensuring they are comfortable in new situations. While a pet’s prime socialization period is when they are under 4 months old, this process should continue throughout their lifetime. Resolve to introduce your four-legged friend to something or someone new weekly, and make the experience a positive one.

#5: Resolve to remember to give your pet their parasite prevention on time

Our lives are busier than ever, and it can be easy to let your pet’s parasite prevention fall behind. However, leaving your pet unprotected from parasites also exposes them to a host of serious diseases. Keep up on administering prevention by scheduling reminders in your phone or on your calendar. 

#6: Resolve to upgrade your pet’s collar identification tags

Have you looked at your pet’s collar ID tags lately? Can you read them? If the tags are too worn to be legible, or if your contact information has changed, have new tags engraved. Also, update your pet’s microchip information as needed, so you can be reached if your furry pal goes missing.

#7: Resolve to groom your pet more often

Help your pet stay fresh and clean with proper grooming. A thorough grooming session helps remove dirt and debris from their skin and coat, disperses natural oils, removes tangles and mats, and helps prevent skin infections. It also gives you the opportunity to check your pet for lumps and bumps, abrasions, and other abnormalities. Also, clean your pet’s ears and trim their nails during their grooming session, and, if you struggle to perform these tasks, ask our team for help. 

#8: Resolve to offer healthy treats to your pet

Although your four-legged friend may gaze up at you, drooling over your slice of pizza, offer them a healthy treat instead. Fresh fruits and veggies make great snacks, as do small bites of lean meats. Avoid toxic foods, like grapes and raisins, and ensure all meat is fully cooked, boneless, and unseasoned.

#9: Resolve to purchase pet insurance

The best time to purchase pet insurance is right now. The longer you wait to buy a policy, the more pre-existing conditions your pet may develop, precluding them from coverage. Pet insurance is the best way to ensure your furry pal gets the treatment they need if they develop a serious illness or disease. 

#10: Resolve to schedule your pet’s preventive and wellness care as needed

While annual or biannual wellness visits may seem unnecessary if your pet appears healthy, they are essential for helping your four-legged friend stay healthy. During a wellness visit, your pet will receive disease-preventing vaccinations, parasite prevention, early detection testing, and much more. These visits are designed to catch disease in its earliest stages when treatment is likely to be easier and more successful, and to prevent disease from occurring in the first place.

Help your four-legged friend stay happy and healthy throughout 2023 by calling our Stack Veterinary Hospital team to schedule a wellness visit.