Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Resolutions for Dog & Cat Owners

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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!


Lisette Brodey said...

Excellent blog, Darlene. Great information and great reminders for even the most seasoned pet owners. Thank you.

rescuegal said...

Another great blog post, Darlene. As always you have given us lots of good information and reminders for strengthening the bond with our pets. Thanks for some very good advice.

Gordon Brice said...

Great blog as always, Darlene, with important advice that will not only lead to healthier lives for pets, but will also ensure happier lives for both pets and "owners".
Thank you for your good wishes and I feel sure that we all wish you and Aimee the very best of everything for 2016 and beyond.

Darlene said...

Thank you so much, Lisette. Most people opt for humor or just a greeting. I wanted to do more and give my readers some useful reminders.

Darlene said...

Thank you, Rescuegal. I'm glad you like the post.

Darlene said...

Thank you, Gordon for a wonderful compliment! I'm so glad you like the post. The human-animal bond is so important. Taking care of them is the least we can do considering all hey do for us.
Thank you for the good wishes for the New Year and beyond.

Vallie Szymanski said...

Such a wonderful post, Darlene, information as good as this needs to be shared with all the animal lovers so the critters and I thank you very much!!!

Darlene said...

Thank you so much, Vallie I truly want life to be better for dogs and cats and their humans. I hope many people will share this post to help even more pets. That's really what this blog is about. Even though there are fun things and reviews here, it's basically about making life better for everyone. I'm passionate about the Human-Animal Bond.

Pet Grooming Tips said...

My friends have dogs and cats both as pets. But most of my friends have dogs and they try to convince me too to pet a dog. I have learned a lot after reading this article.

Perrie Jinnie