Many people look at the first of the year as a fresh start, whether it’s with their finances, career, or health. As more mental-health awareness comes to light, people are taking better care of their physical, emotional, and mental needs. Include your four-legged friend in your new year plans—at least in the health and wellness department—and help your beloved companion turn over a new leaf in 2020. Here are seven ways to get started with your pet’s healthcare.

#1: Begin a dental-care routine for your pet

While brushing your pet’s teeth might not be at the top of your list—or hers—a consistent, at-home dental-care regimen is crucial for her overall health. Plaque and tartar cause more harm than unsightly teeth and less-than-pleasant breath—they damage teeth and the surrounding gum and bone, and allow oral bacteria to leach into the bloodstream, which can cause heart, liver, and kidney disease. Tackle your pet’s tartar by sticking to a dental-care plan that includes toothbrushing, dental chews and treats, and routine dental cleanings by our veterinary team.

#2: Don’t skip your pet’s daily exercise

Daily exercise is good not only for the body, but also for the mind. The physical and mental stimulation derived from a brisk hike down a new trail, a rousing game of hide-and-seek, or a fun time tossing a catnip around is necessary for your pet’s health and happiness. Keeping your pet at an ideal weight helps stave off many diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, osteoarthritis, and some types of cancer.

#3: Invigorate your pet’s mind

Bored pets get into trouble. A bored pet who lacks mental stimulation can also suffer from physical issues, such as the stress caused by anxiety, idiopathic cystitis, overgrooming, and overeating. Sign up for an obedience class, create an at-home agility course for your cat or dog, teach new tricks, and swap out toys to keep your furry friend’s mind sharp, and prevent boredom.

#4: Do away with your pet’s open food buffet

If your pet always has access to a full food dish, she will likely overeat. Most pets cannot limit their food intake appropriately, especially if they’re bored and understimulated. Carefully calculate and measure your pet’s required daily calories, and split the amount into meals. Use feeding puzzles to encourage your pet to move more and to use her mind.

#5: Set reminders for your pet’s parasite prevention

Many pet owners purchase a year’s supply of parasite preventive at a time, only to forget to give it on schedule. Avoid missed doses—create reminders in your phone, or ask us to help you remember your pet’s heartworm-, flea-, and tick-preventive schedule.

#6: Swap out your pet’s treats for healthy alternatives

Pet owners love spoiling their furry companions, but they often go overboard with treats to show their affection. While showering your pet with love is wonderful, be careful with the amount of treats. Check the treat’s calorie and sugar content before you give your pet a handful, as many treats are higher in calories than expected. Treat your pet well by switching out processed snacks for healthy options, such as lean protein sources, and fresh fruits and veggies. 

#7: Schedule a wellness visit for your pet

The most important thing you can do for your pet’s health is to schedule a wellness visit with us. While we may see your pet only once or twice per year, we can monitor trends and spot issues as her normal values change. At the first indication that something is amiss, we can design a diagnostic and treatment plan to manage your pet’s illness at the earliest stage, allowing easier treatment and a better outcome. To help budget for your pet’s wellness care, we offer the PAWS program, a Prepaid Annual Wellness Service that allows for optimal preventive care at a discount with easy monthly payments. The PAWS program includes:

  • Two physical exams per year
  • Appropriate vaccinations
  • Intestinal-parasite and heartworm screening
  • Blood work that screens for general health

So, what are you waiting for? Call our Countryside Veterinary Hospital and schedule a health checkup for your best friend.