Furry New Year

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Resolve to give your pet the best year in 2018. Courtesy Thinkstock.

The new year means resolutions, and in 2018 you can resolve to give your pet the happiest and healthiest year yet! 

By Maria Libonate, RVT

No matter what age your pet is, their health is paramount to their happiness. So what can you do to keep your pet healthy? Here are some simple steps you can take to make sure 2018 is a great year for your furry friend.

Make sure to take your pet to your veterinarian at least once a year for their wellness exam.

This is the perfect time for your veterinarian to assess your pet at their healthiest so that they have a baseline to work with in case they get sick. The wellness exam isn’t just about a full physical in which the doctor will feel, listen to, and look at every aspect of your pet from nose to tail. The exam should also include diagnostics such as blood work, fecal testing, and a urinalysis.

Even with adult pets under seven years old, diagnostics are very important as they make sure your pet’s body systems are all functioning properly.

Blood work can check their kidneys, liver, gastrointestinal tract, blood sugar, and thyroid functions. A urinalysis will check to see if there are any signs of a urinary infection, crystals in the urine, and also make sure the kidneys are functioning correctly. Fecal testing checks for parasites such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and Giardia. All of these tests combined can help your doctor get a full picture of your pet’s health and can help to catch any underlying issues that may not be visible right away.

For senior pets over seven years old, further diagnostics may include blood pressure monitoring and x-rays of their heart and other organs.

Pets age much faster than we do so it is often recommended to have them checked out regularly because changes can occur very rapidly. Don’t wait until your pet is sick to have their physical exams and diagnostics done. Be proactive with your pet’s health and get their wellness visits done regularly to ensure that they stay healthy

Another thing to help with your pet’s overall health and happiness is to provide them with a well-balanced diet. 

Make sure the food you are feeding them is species and age appropriate. Dogs and cats have individual needs, so do puppies, kittens, adults, and senior pets. Feed them nutritious meals according to their ideal weight. If you’re not sure what type of food or how much to feed your pet, ask your veterinarian and they can certainly provide options.

Give your fur buddy plenty of exercise and enrichment.

Give them plenty of exercise and enrichment. This means taking them out for nice long walks, providing toys and playtime for them, as well as allowing them to have a safe and comfortable environment to relax in.

The last and most important thing to remember is to provide your pet with lots of love and affection! 

This may sound mushy, but many pets strive off the bonds they build with their humans, and it can be an integral part of their overall health and happiness. Treat your pets with the love they crave and deserve and you will get that same love and affection in return.

The key to a healthy pet lies with you. Happy New Year and may you and your furry pal have a wonderful 2018!

Pets strive off the bonds they build with their humans. Courtesy Thinkstock.
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