Five suggestions for New Year’s resolutions for your pets:

(1)   Lose weight – According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, over half of all dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese.  Even a small amount of excess weight can have a dramatic impact on a pet’s quality and quantity of life.  A fourteen-year study by Purina demonstrated lean dogs live almost two years longer than their overweight counterparts.  In addition, the extra padding results in 80% higher incidence of painful arthritis.  In addition to arthritis, obesity commonly leads to diabetes and liver disease in cats.  “Spoiling” your pet with excess food, treats, or table scraps may seem like an act of love.  In reality, it is slowly killing your pet and making it more likely she will suffer painful conditions.  Resolve in 2018 to show your pet love not with extra calories, but with more exercise and affection.

(2)   Clean those teeth – Periodontal disease is the most common condition in household pets.  More than 80% of pets over three years of age have some degree of the condition.  Inflammation of the oral tissues is caused by the accumulation of plaque and tartar from bacteria in the mouth.  This condition is closely associated with many ailments, including kidney disease, heart disease, stroke, and liver problems.  Some studies suggest that regular dental care can add two to five years to the life of a pet.

(3)  See the veterinarian – Are all your pet’s up to date with your veterinarian’s recommendations?  If not, January and February are great times to get those routine screening tests and important vaccinations addressed.

(4)  Fight disease-causing parasites – Pets can be infected with parasites at any time of the year.  The adult stages of deer ticks present during the early months of the year have particularly high rates of infection with the bacteria that causes Lyme disease.  Keeping your pets on monthly prevention for heartworm, intestinal worms, and external parasites will help them stay healthy and happy.

(5)  Improve nutrition – Have you discussed your pet’s food and treats with your veterinarian?  Every year nutritional research helps advance the quality of pet food available.  A good quality ration can reduce the risk of disease.  Softer, shinier coats, cleaner teeth, and healthier joints are just a few of the benefits of optimum nutrition.