What better time of the year now to begin making changes for a healthier lifestyle? Now is the time to make compensations for all the holiday indulgences. The start of a new year can signal a fresh start for your pets as well. Some may be needing a change in their routine or just encouraged to become more active, especially if recent weather has caused them to lay around not get as much activity. There’s no better time for you to commit to a new diet and exercise regimen for your pets. This might also be a good time to enrich and enhance their environments. Here are some ideas to help your pet live a healthier lifestyle:
Take time to measure your pet’s food every time! Many owners“eyeball” their pet’s daily intake usually resulting in overfeeding and weight gain, not to mention extra calories consumed intreats. For example, did you know that large dog greenie dental treats have 145 kilocalories, which is 20% of a 50lb dog’s daily needs? Recommended feeding guidelines on bags are a good place to start to figure your pets’ daily needs but make sure to choose age-appropriate diets. Growing pets have very specific nutrient requirements to ensure their bodies grow healthy and strong. Some senior pets may have lower energy requirements and have other medical issues like a degenerative joint disease that may be helped with appropriate diets. You can also offer your pet a smaller food bowl. Both you and your pet will perceive to actually have more food instead of a smaller portion when a smaller bowl is used.
Try a new activity with your pet. It is easier than ever for people to incorporate their pets into a new exercise routine. It’s a great way to bond, it’ll get you both moving around, and both of you will reap the rewards of healthy physical activities. There are several apps available such as Charity Miles that encourage dog walking. Interact with your cat using laser and feather toys and cardboard boxes to enrich their environment by stimulating that predatory instinct with a little aerobic activity. Try putting pet food and treats in puzzle bowls and other reward-based systems to enrich their minds while they’re eating.
Make a Date with your Vet. Ask for advice, update your pet’s food, or get an expert opinion on any behavioral issues or even training advice. It is also a good time to update Pet ID info, microchip status, and wellness visits if needed.
Practice Good Oral Hygiene Habits. Daily tooth brushing is the best way to keep tartar and plaque at bay, just be sure to use toothpaste meant for pets, no fluoride. Water additives, dental diets, and treats designed to reduce tartar can also be helpful tools in protecting teeth. Oravet chews are a great dental treat if used daily to help clean and apply a temporary sealant over the teeth. Regular cleanings under the care of a licensed vet are still the best way to keep those pearly whites in tip-top shape long into your pet’s senior years.
Consider fostering or adopting. Many animal shelters and rescues are in great need of loving homes to provide safe and temporary living arrangements for pets. It’s the perfect way to test the waters of pet ownership without the lifelong commitment.
Make the beginning of this new decade count for you and your furry family members! Happy New Year and a new beginning.