It is customary for people to make New Year’s Resolutions for themselves. Often they are changes made to increase happiness or improve life overall. What about your pets? What could you change to enhance your pet’s quality of life?
This is probably the most common resolution among humans. Most pets could benefit from a little weight loss as well. Over half of America’s cats and dogs are considered obese according to statistics. Maintaining a healthy weight can lengthen their lives, reduce risk of disease, and relieve everyday pain caused by arthritis and other orthopedic issues.
Eating better isn’t always a resolution intended to lose weight, but to become overall healthier. This resolution can extend to your pets as well. When it comes to pet foods, as a general guideline, you get what you pay for. Buying the cheapest brand off the shelf at the grocery store, big box store, or even pet food store is not the best choice for your pet. It may not even be helping you wallet. Spending a little more for a better quality food can save you money down the line in veterinary care.
Note: When changing a pet’s food, it is best to do it gradually to avoid gastrointestinal upset.
Day 1-2: Mix 1/4 of the new food with 3/4 of the old.
Day 3-4: Mix 1/2 of the new food with 1/2 of the old.
Day 5-6: Mix 3/4 of the new food with 1/4 of the old.
Day 7: Feed 100% of the new food.
*If at any point during this process your dog stops eating or develops vomiting or diarrhea, do not feed any more of the new food and call your veterinarian.
No matter how much I try to explain to my dog that I have to go to work to make money so we can have the necessities, she just doesn’t understand. She would like me to stay home with her and nap all day, go for walks, and play ball. I would like that too, but let’s face reality.
Making the time we do have with our pets count is likely the best we can do. Turn off the TV and put down your tablet or smart phone. Take your dog for a walk. Play fetch. Cuddle on the couch or even the floor. Brush your cat’s fur. Find that special spot that needs a good scratching. On your time off take your dog along and explore one of the Bemidji area’s many parks and trails.
The furnace needs repair. The car breaks down. Your dog or cat needs emergency surgery. Are you prepared for unexpected expenses? Having a safety net in case of emergencies is a wise financial tip. The reality for veterinary patients is that finances can be the difference between life and death.
A savings account for veterinary emergencies is an adequate alternative to pet health insurance. The benefit of this saving method is the flexibility to use it towards anything; you are not limited to veterinary care.
The myth that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” is wrong. As research has shown us in human medicine, keeping older patient’s minds active and engaged can help slow the progression of dementia. Teach them a new trick. Provide them with an interactive toy. Take a new route on your walk.
Pets depend on routine. Organize their things to make their lives easier. Designate a special spot that’s quiet and calm for your pet to feel safe and relax. Collect their toys in a toy basket just for them. Store their food in an air tight container to maintain freshness and prevent them from getting into it outside of mealtime.
If you ask them…..
What would a dog’s resolutions be?
- Eat more food.
- Catch that squirrel.
- Catch my tail.
- Perfect “the look” to make the humans give me more treats.
- Find the bone I buried last fall.
- Bark at the mail, UPS and FedEx person.
What would a cat’s resolutions be?
- Vomit on the carpet rather than the linoleum.
- Wake owner up earlier or more often at night.
- Catch the red dot.
- Sleep more.
- Leave more hair on the furniture and my human’s clothes.