As you turn the calendar to a new year, it’s the perfect time to reflect on your goals and make fresh starts. But, have you considered setting resolutions for your four-legged family member? At Flora Family Vet, we believe that prioritizing your pet’s health and happiness should be a top resolution for any pet owner. Here are a few pawsome New Year’s resolutions to help make 2024 the healthiest and happiest one yet for your furry friend!

#1: Get your pet moving with regular exercise

Would you be surprised to learn that almost 60% of U.S. pets are overweight or obese? Extra weight predisposes your pet to many health problems, including arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes. And, studies have shown that pets who are allowed to eat more live shorter lives than those fed a set amount.  If your pet is carrying a few extra pounds, daily exercise can help them get in shape.

Exercise is essential for maintaining your pet’s physical and mental well-being. All pets need daily activity—cats included. Your dog will enjoy taking a brisk walk, playing fetch, or meeting other dogs for playdates. You can get your cat moving by appealing to their inner hunter—try a motorized mouse toy or feather wand. Cats also love climbing cat trees…and then taking a nap on the top perch. 

#2: Enrich your pet’s mind

Mental enrichment is just as crucial as physical exercise and prevents boredom, reduces anxiety, and keeps your pet engaged and content. Exercising your older pet’s brain can also help keep their mind sharp, which can prevent cognitive dysfunction. Stimulate your pet’s mind with puzzle toys, treat-dispensing devices, or interactive games. Set aside time for training sessions to strengthen their bond with you and sharpen their mental acuity. Cats can benefit from puzzle feeders and climbing structures, while dogs thrive on learning new tricks and commands. 

#3: Prioritize your pet’s dental care

Oral health is often overlooked but plays a vital role in your pet’s overall well-being. In fact, up to 80% of pets develop dental disease by 3 years of age, making it one of the most common pet health issues. Does your furry friend have any of these dental disease signs?

  • Bad breath (which is not normal for pets, by the way)
  • Tartar accumulation 
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Discolored teeth
  • Missing teeth
  • Bleeding gums (you may see blood in their food or water bowls or on chew toys)

If your pet already has signs of dental disease, they are likely overdue for a professional dental cleaning. Allowed to progress unchecked, dental disease can cause significant pain, infection, and even systemic organ damage, so it’s time to take action. Call our team to schedule a dental assessment for your pet.

If your pet’s teeth are clean and white, or if they have recently had a dental cleaning, you can prevent tartar buildup and dental disease with daily toothbrushing.  Purchase a pet toothbrush, pet-safe toothpaste, and some training treats. Start slow and reward your pet after each session.

#4: Commit to regular wellness visits for your pet

Routine wellness visits to Flora Family Vet are an essential part of keeping your pet healthy. Wellness visits focus on preventing future illnesses and detecting early disease signs so that health conditions can be treated before they progress. Although you may not think your healthy pet needs to see the vet, evidence shows that routine screening tests reveal abnormalities in 25% of seemingly healthy adult and senior dogs. Schedule your pet’s next check-up to ensure they are up-to-date on vaccinations, parasite prevention, and wellness testing. 

#5: Foster socialization for your pet

Socialization is crucial for all pets, but especially puppies and kittens. Make an effort to expose your pet to new people, animals, and environments on a regular basis to help prevent behavioral issues and create a well-adjusted and confident companion. Although socialization is most important when your pet is young, you should expose your dog or cat to new people and places throughout their life. Join training classes or visit pet-friendly parks and events to encourage positive social interactions.

By setting these New Year’s resolutions for your pet, you’re taking proactive steps to ensure their health, happiness, and overall well-being. At Flora Family Vet, we’re here to support you in achieving these goals. Whether it’s providing dental care tips, recommending mental enrichment activities, or scheduling wellness visits, we’re your trusted partner in pet care—give us a call.