New Year’s Resolutions – Critter Edition

New Year’s Resolutions – Critter Edition

New Year’s Resolutions – Critter Edition

As we all welcome in 2021, consider including your beloved furry family members in your New Year’s Resolutions. Here are 10 ideas to spark some cheer and get the year started off right:

1. Get those teeth sparkling! Dental care is as important for our critters’ health and comfort as it is for our own. While dogs and cats don’t tend to get “cavities,” they are prone to other serious dental diseases that can result in infection, bone loss, and pain. Check out the link below to learn more about maintaining and improving your animal’s dental hygiene.

2. Keep those hungry brains working and happy. Food puzzles are toys that hide food in mentally-stimulating places that are biologically appropriate for animals to use their brains to retrieve. Long used in zoos to keep wild animals’ minds active and happy, they are similarly helpful in the home. In fact, many animals will choose a puzzle OVER food in a simple bowl – it’s simply more fun! There is a plethora of fun puzzles both for purchase or to design at home. Engage your kids in creating some!

3. Keep those walks going. Many picked up some great habits this past year of walking, running, and otherwise exercising their dogs (and cats!) more regularly. Keep those habits going. For those that want to start a new exercise plan for their animals, remember to start slowly and gradually increase physical activity. Always consult a veterinarian on how best to do so. Remember growing puppies and kittens need to ensure their growing bones and joints are taken care of, and older pets may have existing injuries that limit the type of activity they can happily and safely perform.

4. Get cooking! Learn to make homemade dog or cat treats. Recipes abound – always make sure to get a recipe approved by your veterinarian for your particular pet before feeding.

5. Shave off some pounds. Many cats and dogs are overweight or obese, which we know is associated with a variety of negative health consequences and shorter lifespans. Consult your veterinarian on what an ideal body weight is for your pet and how best to evaluate their current weight. Plans to safely lose weight include cutting back calories by 10-15% per day (hidden high caloric sources include treats such as chews), reaching for less calorically-dense weight loss foods, and monitored exercise.

6. Look into pet insurance. A less “fun” but very practical resolution, pet insurance has really developed over the years to include a wide range of plans that best fit you and your animals’ needs. As a general rule, it is wisest to get a plan early in a pet’s life.

7. Tackle that hard husbandry task. Learn to clip nails, clean ears, or whatever husbandry task has always given you grief. Your children may be great helpers with this too!

8. Schedule that vet appointment. Veterinarians and hospital staff have worked tirelessly to safely stay open as essential workers throughout this past year. Start the year off right by ensuring your critters are up to date on their needs (and make sure to thank everyone, even if from the car – everyone’s been working hard!!)

9. Learn a new trick! This is another fun way for your kids to become engaged with your critters’ care while giving pets the attention they crave. See the link below for some great training videos.

10. Give back. Foster an animal in need, donate time or money, be kind and engage your kids!

Wishing you and your animal family members a very happy and peace filled 2021!

– Dr. Emily Andersen, DVM, CVA, CVFT

For more information:

Pet Dental Health:

How to Clip Your Pet’s Nails:

Treat & Train Resource: