2015 seems to have gone by in a flash and here we are, welcoming 2016, a brand new year and a brand new start. The slate is clean so let's talk about what we can do for our dogs and cats this year.
Every dog and cat needs an annual veterinary check-up. Most people remember to take their dog in annually but they don't take their cat. Cats need an annual veterinary visit every bit as much as dogs. They are living, breathing sentient beings who need the same amount of attention, love and care.
|Photo Courtesy of Susan Bulanda|
Make this the year you will ask your veterinarian to show you how to brush your pet's teeth. It's easier if you start with a puppy or kitten but you can very slowly acclimate most dogs or cats to having their teeth brushed. They are subject to the same dental problems as we are and germs leaching down from dirty teeth can cause all sort of health problems.
No matter what sort of climate you live in, plan to do more with your pets. Clicker training is great for exercising the mind as well as the body. Don't just turn your dog out in the yard; take him for walks. It's great bonding time. Play games with your cats using interactive toys. You can also clicker train them to do all sorts of tricks. They'll love the time they spend with you and keep sessions to about 5 minutes about 3 times a day. Be sure your pet is dressed appropriately for the weather. In cold weather small dogs and those with little or no haircoat will need a coat or warm sweater. Hairless cats will also appreciate a sweater even though they are indoors. Walking on treated surfaces means you should consider training your dog to wear boots. Otherwise, wash off the pads of his feet so he won't lick them and ingest the ice melt.In warm weather, hairless cats and dogs will need sunscreen otherwise they will sunburn.
Remember that leaving your pet in the car in cold weather is just as dangerous as in hot weather. That short errand you're going to run might take longer than you think.
Plan to groom your cat or dog. Preferably daily but you can do it once a week if she has the kind of short coat that won't mat or tangle.
Be sure they always have fresh water available. Keep nails and claws trimmed and neat.
|Photo Courtesy of Lisette Brodey|
When your pets are older they will need to see the veterinarian twice a year, starting with a Senior Wellness visit so your veterinarian can get a baseline. If there is a problem, it can be found sooner and treatment started before it becomes embedded and is harder to treat and takes longer to resolve. That also means it's more expensive. If your older pets stay on their bed or have problems moving, take them to veterinarian. Telling yourself it's just old age is doing your cat or dog an injustice.
If your cat or dog has the right temperament for it and is properly socialized, this may be the year you want to find out about doing therapy work with your pet and sharing the love. You might try a new dog sport, or feline agility. The possibilities are seemingly endless.
Remember that your pet is not just your best friend but you are your pet's best friend.
Aimee and I wish you and your pets a Happy, Healthy New Year!