At Burlington Veterinary Center, we know that your pet’s health is your top priority. And, since the start of a new year is a great time to reassess your pet’s lifestyle, we created a handy list for you to ensure your pet stays healthy and happy all year long. Print, save, and make notes on your checklist and reference it throughout the year when you need a pet health refresher. Here are our top tips:
- Assess your pet’s diet
Since good nutrition is a cornerstone of optimal health, examine your pet’s diet to ensure they are getting all their necessary nutrients, but not excess calories. Most reputable commercial diets are formulated to meet all your pet’s nutritional requirements, so if your pet is thriving on their current regimen, you probably do not need to change their food, although you may need to adjust their portion size. If you do not know the calorie amount your pet should be eating, use this calculator, or consult our veterinary team. Remember, you must account for every treat in your pet’s daily calorie count.
- Commit to regular exercise with your dog
We all know that regular exercise is essential for overall wellness, and the same rings true for our pets. If you are already a routine walker, jogger, or hiker with your pet, keep up the good work! However, if exercise is new territory, start out slowly and give each other a grace period. Your eventual daily goal should be at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as leash-walking, playing, swimming, or another activity that gets the blood pumping. Of course, ask your physician and your veterinarian about appropriate exercises for you and your pet if underlying health conditions are a concern.
- Perform monthly weigh-ins for your pet
Obesity is a big problem—in people and pets. Holiday treats combined with seasonal weather can put a damper on outdoor exercise, making winter a common time to pack on the pounds. By committing to diet and exercise early on, and frequently checking your pet’s progress, you can set them up for healthy weight success. Pop your pet on a scale at least once a month—more frequently if your pet has been diagnosed as overweight or obese—record your findings, and report any concerning trends to your Burlington veterinarian.
- Take up a new hobby with your dog
Now is a great time to shake things up a bit and take up a new hobby, sport, or activity with your furry friend. Always wanted to try agility training? Think your dog would be stellar at water rescue? Dream of having a therapy pet? The possibilities are endless, so dream big, and make it happen. A new activity will not only stimulate your pet’s mind and body, but could also provide a wonderful bonding opportunity for the two of you.
- Purchase new toys for your pet and recycle old ones
The start of a new year is a great time to reassess your pet’s enrichment situation. Toys, balls, and other pet play things will need replacing from time to time, for safety and stimulation reasons, because pets get bored with the same old toys, and ones that are falling apart may become hazardous, especially if ingested. Avoid a mishap, get rid of old, unsafe toys, and purchase a few new, stimulating items such as puzzle feeders, tough rubber chew toys, and scratch boards.
- Get on a pet grooming schedule
Whether you choose to prim your pet at home or at a professional salon, keep your pet routinely groomed this year. Both long- and short-haired pets need regular washing and brushing to get rid of dirt and grime, and to stimulate the skin and coat. Most pets don’t need bathing more than once a month, but thick-coated, long-haired breeds require daily brushing to avoid matting. If your pet has a history of skin problems, consult with our veterinary team before choosing a shampoo and bathing regimen.
- Stock up on pet preventive medications
While winter weather is now in full swing, spring will be here before you know it—and with it, a host of unpleasant parasites. Most pesky bugs run rampant in the spring and summer, but some—including fleas—can survive freezing temperatures, so protect your pet with a year-round parasite prevention plan. Visit our online pharmacy or contact us for help choosing the best product for your individual pet.
- Schedule an appointment at Burlington Veterinary Center
An annual nose-to-tail examination and consultation is the best way to ensure your pet is healthy and ready for the new year.
A wellness appointment is a great opportunity to ask your Burlington veterinarian any questions about your pet’s diet, exercise, behavior, or other issues. Schedule your appointment today—we can’t wait to see you and your pet in 2021.
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