As we usher in 2024, what better time is there than right now to set positive intentions for your furry family member? Our pets wholly rely on us for their wellbeing, both physical and mental. Incorporate some of the following resolutions into your pet care routine to make 2024 a happy and healthy year for you and your pet!
Get Your Pet In Shape: Diet, Exercise and Enrichment
January marks “National Walk Your Pet Month.” Embrace the spirit of this first pet holiday of the year by committing to taking regular walks together. Cat parents can enjoy outdoor walks with their kitty with the help of a heavy-duty/sturdy, covered pet stroller or high quality harness. Walking with your pet is a great way to share quality time with each other and get some healthy exercise.
Maintaining a healthy weight is just as important for pets as it is for us humans. Keep a weight journal for your pet and ideally, weigh them at home on a weekly basis. Have a large dog? Bring them to the vet’s office for a monthly weight check-in to stay on top of any weight-related issues – or to prevent weight issues from creeping up on you.
Enrichment & Play
Don’t forget the importance of play time and enrichment. Play is a critical component of your pet’s mental and physical wellbeing. Make time for daily play sessions with your pets – especially indoor cats. Interactive toys, puzzle feeders and other engaging activities contribute to your pet’s total wellbeing and the mental stimulation they crave.
Dental Care & Tooth Brushing
Make a commitment to your pet’s dental wellness early in the year. February is “Pet Dental Health Month” and a great time to schedule a dental check-up for your pet. Many veterinarians run specials on dental exams in February – check with your local vet. Regular dental exams along with cleanings are critical to maintaining a healthy mouth. Many pet owners are surprised to learn that some common diseases, like kidney disease, can stem from poor oral health.
Invest a few minutes each day into brushing your pet’s teeth – it can make an enormous difference. If you haven’t cleaned your pet’s teeth before, start out slowly with just a minute each day. Introduce the habit as a daily treat by using pet-friendly toothpaste (never use human toothpaste) and a soft toothbrush designed for pets. It’s normal for pets to resist tooth brushing initially, but with a little patience and perseverance, tooth brushing can become a meaningful bonding experience for you and your pet.
Get Organized: Pet Medical Records & Microchipping
Organize Pet Medical Records
Keeping your pet’s medical records organized contributes to their overall safety and wellbeing. Start by gathering medical records in a convenient location. Compiling and maintaining this information will help you stay informed about your pet’s health but also streamlines any future vet visits, consultations or even future travel plans.
Update Microchip Information
Is your pet’s microchip up-to-date? If you’ve moved or changed your phone number since adopting your pet, be sure that you update your current contact information with the microchip manufacturer. In the event your pet were to go missing, a current microchip can be indispensable in reuniting you and your furry family member.
Disaster Preparedness for Pets
Prepare for Life’s Curveballs
Life can be unpredictable and emergency situations can happen at any time. Take the initiative now to create a comprehensive plan for handling emergencies – be it a disaster at home like a fire or flood or some other natural disaster. Pack an emergency kit of essential supplies including food and water for your pet – and refresh it regularly. Your disaster preparedness plan should include provisions for any necessary medications, a copy of medical records and essential items for your pet such as blankets, plenty of food and water, treats, toys, litter, litter trays, and a leash and/or harness.
Get To Know Pet-Friendly Hotels
Know the location of pet-friendly establishments like pet-friendly hotels in case you and your pet need to spend the night away from home. Have a list of emergency contacts for your pet’s care in the event something happens to you.
Microchip your pet
Pet isn’t microchipped? Consider microchipping your pet – it’s a quick and minimally painful procedure. In the event of an emergency or separation during a crisis, a microchip increases the chances of a safe reunification.
Love Your Pet
With the hustle and bustle of daily living it’s easy to overlook the simple things we can do to enhance our pets’ lives in profound ways. The best way to show your pet that you love them is to take great care of them. Make a commitment today to prioritize your pets’ well being – doing so will strengthen the bond between you and your beloved companion.
A pet that has ready access to nutritious food, a safe, warm shelter, plenty of exercise and mentally stimulating activities will undoubtedly be a happier, healthier pet. Cheers to a fantastic year filled with love, joy and happy, wagging tails!