January 1 is a great day to reflect on the past 365 days and set positive and healthy intentions for the year ahead. If you’re making New Year’s resolutions for yourself, why not make a few for your pet, as well? Check out these fun and functional resolution ideas from Adamson Veterinary Services

#1: Your pet wants to be proactive about their health

Preventive veterinary care is more than your pet’s annual examinationit’s a proactive step to protect your pet’s health now and in the future. Preventive or wellness care allows our team to ensure your pet’s healthy growth and development, strengthen their immune system, protect them from infectious disease, and screen them for health anomalies that could lead to serious illness and disease. Early detection gives our team the edge on harmful diseases, and allows us to manage your pet’s condition with less-invasive—and more affordable—treatment, and to ensure a much better outcome, potentially adding years to their life.

Don’t wait until your pet is sick or injured to address their health needs. Schedule a wellness care visit and ring in the New Year with a toast to preventive and proactive care.

#2: Your pet wants to improve their behavior

Human resolution-makers often vow to improve their character or mindset, with the goal of becoming more generous, patient, disciplined, or forgiving. What if your pet aspires to be a better-behaved companion? 

Behavior problems are more than a nuisance—they can impair your pet’s quality of life, and yours. Every dog and cat requires training not only to prevent unwanted issues, but also to help set expectations and boundaries that will keep them safe. Training also boosts your pet’s confidence and reduces harmful anxiety and stress. 

Sign up for a training class or one-on-one sessions with a professional positive reinforcement-based trainer to help your pet learn correct behavior, and also develop your bond. Consider online classes or a virtual consultation with a veterinary behaviorist for more challenging conditions, such as fear, anxiety, aggression, and reactivity.

#3: Your pet wants to lose weight

Nearly 60% of U.S. dogs and cats are overweight or obese, predisposing most of our pets to life-altering or life-ending diseases, including:

  • Cancer
  • Arthritis
  • Orthopedic disease
  • Kidney failure
  • Cardiovascular problems
  • Diabetes

According to retrospective research gathered from real patients, overweight dogs live 2.5 years less than healthy weight canines. Given obesity’s damaging health effects, we can assume similar results for cats. Fortunately, weight loss is attainable with proper nutrition, lifestyle changes, and physical activity. 

If you’re unsure about your pet’s weight, use this pet weight test to assess their condition. If their body condition score (BCS) is greater than 5, schedule a weight loss consultation at Adamson Veterinary Services. Our team can assess your pet for any health conditions that may contribute to their weight gain, and design a safe, effective weight loss program.

#4: Your pet wants protection from parasites

Pets can’t sign up for self-defense classes or learn martial arfs—or, arts—they need your help to stay safe against the real and ever present threat of parasitic diseases. Year-round flea, tick, and heartworm preventives from Adamson Veterinary Services are safest and most effective for building and maintaining your pet’s defenses against harmful and life-threatening conditions, including:

  • Heartworm disease
  • Lyme disease
  • Ehrlichiosis 
  • Anaplasmosis
  • Anemia
  • Flea allergy dermatitis (FAD) or hypersensitivity

Annual screening tests, including heartworm and tick-borne disease testing and intestinal parasite screenings (i.e., fecal), are also recommended to ensure your pet’s preventive protocol is working as intended. 

#5: Your pet wants to learn something new

Like their owners, pets enjoy mental stimulation and challenges. Engaging your pet’s mind not only creates immense satisfaction, but also can relieve stress, prevent depression, and improve overall behavior. Try incorporating mental challenges in your pet’s daily routine a few times a week. These may include:

  • Training activities — Check out free online tutorials for fun tricks and games you can teach your dog or cat, often in as little as 5 to 10 minutes per day.
  • Food-dispensing toys — Motion-activated balls and toys that randomly dispense food can trigger your pet’s inner hunter and encourage predatory behavior (e.g., stalking, chasing, pouncing, killing). 
  • Puzzle toys — Pet puzzle toys are designed to encourage problem-solving and critical thinking skills. Your pet uses their paws and nose to manipulate various levers, sliders, and drawers to seek out hidden treats.
  • Environmental enrichment — Cats and dogs need to feel safe in their home environment but, because they are confined to an indoor space for long periods of time, owners must intentionally create stimulating and engaging opportunities for play and natural behavior. Cats love vertical spaces, such as cat trees and climbing structures, places to hide (e.g., play tunnels, covered beds), and opportunities to explore, such as a secure outdoor enclosure or catio. Dogs like sniffing games (e.g., hide-and-seek with treats, snuffle mats, or scattering kibble in untreated grass), dog TV, and playing with a flirt pole. Both dogs and cats enjoy a cozy window seat where they can watch birds at a bird-feeder.

Start the New Year on the right paw by making a commitment to your pet’s physical and emotional health. And, let Adamson Veterinary Services help to ensure your resolutions stick—contact us now to schedule your pet’s wellness visit.