Many people will start 2013 with a list of New Year’s resolutions, promising things such as finding more time to exercise, lose weight, or learn a new skill. We thought that it might be fun to consider a list of resolutions related to the health and safety of your pets. Given our devotion to our furry friends, these resolutions might be easier to keep than those that we have made in the past.
- · Reconsider safety in your home and revisit those items that may be poisonous or dangerous to your pets. For example, did you know that not only chocolate, but also grapes, onions and tomatoes are toxic to your dog? One of our favourite resources looking at substances toxic to pets is at: http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/poison-control/.
- · Insure that your pet has an appropriate form of identification. Over time, many collars, tags and tattoos will become worn. In case your friend ends up separated from you, it may be time for something new in 2013. Microchip identification is an excellent way to insure that your pet is permanently identified as yours. Please ask about this if your pet has not been microchipped.
- · Consider your pet’s nutrition. There has been an explosion of diet options for both dogs and cats over the last several years and selecting which one is right may be difficult. Remember that diets should be suited to your animal’s size, level of activity and age. The ultimate goal is to keep them at an ideal body weight so that they can live a longer, healthier life. We are always available to help guide you through your choices, especially if there are medical concerns to be addressed. If you are not sure how your pet is doing, check out how to do a ‘body condition score’ at: http://vet.osu.edu/vmc/body-condition-scoring-chart.
- · Create a better grooming and pet care system if necessary. This might include brushing your pet’s teeth or cleaning the dog’s ears on a regular basis. Or, it could be as simple as brushing, bathing, and clipping nails more regularly. Staying on top of grooming in general will make your pet happier as they love to be clean.
- · Exercise with your pet. This is one that works for both you and your pet, as they can be the perfect workout partner! Your dog might love a romp in the park or at the beach while you run or walk. We would also tie this resolution in with one to try to socialize your dog as much as possible. Like kids, dogs can become destructive and unruly when not given enough attention or exercise. When planning exercise, don’t forget the cats too…Kitty needs fun and exercise too!
- · Do not postpone an annual checkup, even for indoor cats. As animals age much faster than we do, a year between vet visits can mean that serious changes can happen which are not immediate obvious. These may be revealed during an examination by trained hands. Waiting until your pet is ill may lead to more expensive treatment, complications that could have been avoided and unnecessary pain or suffering.
- · Use screening tools and preventatives for parasitic diseases. Our diagnosis of parasitic diseases and recognition of new dangers to our pets increased in 2012 (such as ticks carrying Lyme disease invading the Toronto area and ‘cottage country’). We expect this trend to continue over the next few years as weather patterns change. We advocate for preventatives and testing for pesky infections such as heartworm and fleas, and this is something to put on your 2013 calendar to consider as the spring approaches.
There are so many other things that I am sure that you can think of. Feel free to join us on Facebook to send us your suggestions. The team at Eglinton Vet resolves, as always, to try to provide you and your pets with the most compassionate, up-to-date and thorough medical care. Happy New Year! We look forward to seeing our furry friends and their companions in 2013.