Happy New Year! I have some New Year’s Resolutions for you and your pet to help keep them safe and healthy.
- Make sure your pet is on a high quality food.Some of my favorites are Fromm, Acana, Nature’s Recipe, Stella and Chewy, and Zignature brands. What you feed does matter. Generally the grocery store brands, while convenient to buy, are not the best quality. Some are very good at marketing with the big beautiful pictures of vegetables and meats, but aren’t nutritionally the best for your pet. Many are made just for appeal to our eyes and not the pet’s health. You will see food colorings and sugar added to many common foods. My theory is, celebrities and chefs should stick to cooking for people, not pets. Feel free to call us for recommendations or pick up samples at the Village Pet Market next to Granville Veterinary Clinic
- Consider Your Litter Boxes. Inappropriate urination is one of the most difficult things a cat owner deals with. Consider your litter box location, the litter you use, how often you scoop, and how many boxes you have. Here is a VERY good article on the “Fine Art of Litter Box Care”. For example, cats prefer clear litter boxes, deep, unscented litter and no hoods. You should have one box per cat plus one. So if you have 1 cat, you should have two boxes. If you have two cats, you should have three boxes to minimize behavioral issues as they relate to urinating outside the box.
- Do at Least One Thing Every Day Your Pet Loves. This can be as simple as an ear rub or a few minutes of playtime. I’m sure you are the same, it makes me happy to give them joy!
- Flea, Tick and Heartworms Prevention. Make sure you provide your dog and cat with the right preventions. Here in Licking county, we recommend year around flea, tick and heartworm prevention. We see heartworm disease, Lyme disease, and flea infestations on a regular basis. There are very good and safe prevention medications. Don’t assume dogs that don’t go out much or cats that are indoor only are “safe”. Recently I saw an indoor only cat home have a terrible flea infestation. Most likely the owners or a visitor bought some fleas or eggs home on their shoes and within a short time it was very bad. Not the type of Christmas present you want to receive. Ticks have been REALLY bad and we are seeing a lot of dogs test positive for Lyme disease. There is a Lyme vaccine for dogs that we recommend. Check out how small these ticks are – almost impossible to detect. Go to: See photo of Tick on Cat’s Face.If you have questions, call us at 740-587-1129.
- Change Food Gradually.Make any food change gradually. Go easy on those Christmas treats for the little guys. A few are fine but too much of a good thing can lead to intestinal issues. I see dogs and cats all the time that had their food changed too abruptly which lead to vomiting and diarrhea.
- Diet. If your dog or cat is overweight – then get them to an ideal weight. Pets that can live their lives at an ideal weight or even on the thin side, can live two years longer and have less health issues.
- Exercise more. Exercise is good for all of us. Even a walk around the block or some play time.
- No more milk bones. These add weight and do not provide the nutrients we would like for dogs.
- Train. Consider a training class for your dog. Even if he has gone through one before or is older and never been through one, it is possible to teach old dogs new tricks. The simple commands as come, wait, stay, can save a dogs life. I’ve seen understanding these commands prevent dogs from getting in fights and getting hit by a car.
- Environmental Enrichment. If you have indoor cats, optimize your cats environment for ideal happiness.For those of you with indoor cats like Dr. Primovic, she is a huge believer in ensuring your home is enriched for a cat. For example, make sure you have some scratching posts placed in high traffic areas of the house (cats are social scratchers and it isn’t about the claws but marking and the ritual), window perches, climbing trees. Cats feel safe and happy when they are high and can observe their environment from a high spot. That means to consider scratching posts (even for declawed cats), play time, cat trees, and much more. Learn more with this article: Selecting The Right Environmental Enrichment for Your Cat.
- Consider Toy Safety. Provide your pets with safe toys. Make sure no prices can be ingested or chewed. Some of my favorite dog toys are the Kong toys and my favorite cat toys are the Yeooww catnips toys. For cats, I love to buy some good catnip and place it in a baggie and place small toys in it to “marinade”. I trade out toys on a regular basis.
- Flu Prevention. If your board your dog, make sure you stay current on the flu vaccine. We are still hearing reports of flu outbreaks. They can shut town hospitals and boarding facilities.
I hope these tips help to keep your pets safe, happy and healthy.