Nearly half the population makes at least one New Year’s resolution each year that vary from losing weight, to exercising more, to improving relationships, or stopping smoking. Most media statistics claim the majority of people are unsuccessful, but a recent large study showed around half of resolution-setters feel they accomplished their goal after one year. Setting similar goals for your pet can help them achieve greater health and wellness, especially when you focus on preventive care. Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital has a few ideas to get you started.

#1: Brush your pet’s teeth more

Did you know that nearly all pets older than 3 years have started developing dental disease? Plaque and tartar can build up on teeth, and attract and trap harmful bacteria at the gum line. As disease progresses, pets can develop deep infections that eat away at gum tissue, tooth roots, and jaw bones, which is a painful process that leads to tooth loss over time. Your pet cannot tell you that their teeth hurt, so preventing and treating dental disease requires a proactive approach. Toothbrushing is the mainstay—ask your veterinarian for tips on brushing your pet’s teeth, and aim to brush at least once per day, or a minimum of three times per week.

#2: Get out more with your pet

Exercise is necessary for your pet’s—and your own—health, so get out there and walk, throw a ball, or play laser games indoors. Obesity is a huge problem for pets, with nearly half considered overweight or obese, and exercise is a main player to eliminate this problem. Exercise can relieve anxiety and boredom, provide mental stimulation, and be a social outlet for outgoing dogs who love meeting new people or pets. Exercise becomes extra important for older pets who may be developing arthritis, because it helps prevent muscle atrophy and pain to keep joints healthy longer.

#3: Address your pet’s mental and emotional wellbeing

Our veterinary team is heavily invested in your pet’s mental and emotional wellbeing while they are here in the hospital, but you must provide a low-stress home environment and ensure your pet is comfortable during transport to and from the veterinarian. These are key to help ensure your pet gets the care they need, when they need. Visit fear free happy homes or ask your veterinarian to explain more about identifying pet fear, anxiety, and stress and providing solutions for home and travel. 

#4: Visit the veterinarian before your pet gets sick

Many pet owners visit the veterinarian only when their pet is unwell, but wellness care can help prevent illnesses and extend your pet’s healthy lifespan. This year, bring in all your pets for a preventive care visit, and consider two visits for seniors. Preventive care visits include:

  • Wellness examination — A complete physical examination can detect subtle changes, such as early arthritis, a heart murmur, or dental disease, that often go unnoticed at home. We can treat disease much more effectively during the early stages.
  • Vaccinations — Vaccines protect against many deadly diseases that can be transmitted by wildlife or unvaccinated pets. Periodic boosters are necessary for vaccines to remain effective. 
  • Early disease screenings — Blood and urine tests are used to establish a baseline, and to detect early changes in organ function, while advanced testing, such as echocardiogram, abdominal ultrasound, and chest X-rays, provide more extensive screening for high-risk pets.

#5: Reassess your pet’s parasite risk

Parasite prevalence varies from year to year depending on weather cycles. Many parasites have expanded their range, and if you’re still using the same preventives as 5 or 10 years ago—or not at all—ask your veterinarian to reassess your pet’s parasite risk at their annual wellness examination. Fleas, ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites can cause or transmit deadly diseases, which you can easily prevent with the appropriate products. Parasite prevention evolves regularly, and new, innovative products become more widely available. They also are available as topical medications, oral medications, and long-lasting formulations, so finding the right product for you and your pet is not difficult.

An effective resolution requires your commitment and dedication toward meeting your goal. This can be difficult for many people, but choosing a pet-based resolution this year can make things a little bit easier. The Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital team is ready and willing to assist you with your pet’s care in 2023, so schedule a visit and get a jump on your pet’s new and improved preventive care regimen.