New Year’s Resolutions: Practical ways to include pet health in your 2019 improvements
I am a fan of New Year’s Resolutions, despite what some say. January is always a time where I try to cinch down on organization and planning for myself; I buy a new planner, I schedule gym time, and I review my spending habits. I know a lot of New Year’s resolutions fizzle out by the time February comes around, but I am invigorated by the feeling of a fresh start and hopeful that intentional goal-setting will lead to practices that will stick.
If you are also facing 2019 with this kind of motivation and resolve, I present to you some easy to start habits to improve your pet’s health in the New Year.
Set up Automatic Monthly Reminders: It’s so easy to let Flea and Tick and Heartworm prevention pills slip, “I gave it last month didn’t I? Why are there still pills in a box meant for 6 months 8 months later?” So quick, take out your phone or summon your Alexa or Google, and set up a recurring monthly alert right now while you are thinking about it.
Pet’s receiving preventatives on time is essential to them working properly. The preventative heartworm medication, kills juvenile stages of the parasite, but has no killing power against adults. Once adults have developed the only way to get rid of them is with multiple, expensive heartworm treatments at your veterinary clinic. If you have missed any monthly treatments, it is highly recommended to do a heartworm test at your pet’s next annual exam.
Establish a Dental Health Routine: Incorporating teeth brushing into your dog’s routine is an inexpensive way to maintain your dog’s dental health. If you are not able to do daily brushing, even weekly brushing can make a positive impact. Dogs quickly acclimate to the brushing. You can try starting with using peanut butter instead of toothpaste as a treat until they get used to the brush in their mouth. Use a dog- specific enzymatic toothpaste, these work on contact with the teeth, so even with minimal brushing motion are effective. There are many other products out there to help with dental health, treats, chews and wipes - when finding dental health products look for the VOHC approved label.
Pencil-In Puppy Play Time: If you have made goals to get moving in 2019, take your pet along for the fun! All dogs benefit from regular walks. For you athletes, many pups love to come on runs as well, just be sure to build them up slowly and leave them home in hot weather. Spending active time with your pet will not only help keep them at a healthy weight but can help reduce some anxiety and boredom behaviors. The bond between pet and owner will be strengthened and we all know that’s truly a win-win!
Start a Pet Emergency Fund: Just like in other areas of life, unexpected costs arise and emergencies happen with our pets. In an urgent situation deciding how you are going to be able to pay the bill can be agonizing. By having even a small amount stashed away specifically for your pet, you can be more prepared to provide your pet with the care they need while minimizing financial stress.
An easy idea is signing up for an automatic savings app like Chime or Digit. These are apps that will round up the change from each of your purchases or put away a small amount a week into a separate savings account. These small withdrawals are barely noticeable amongst your other daily purchases, but can add up quickly! $.05 saved of 10 purchases a day over a year is $182.50!
Taking small steps in preventative health care for your pet can make big differences in their long term well being. We hope 2019 will be a happy and healthy year for both you and your pet, and look forward to continuing to provide care for your furry family!
Merel Huff, DVM & LSAH Team