The start of a new year is so often full of lofty goals and good intentions, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. We may even set goals with our pets, vowing to walk our dog every day or brush our cat’s teeth with any frequency at all. A mere two weeks into the new year, though, as the wind whips snow in our faces on that daily walk and our cats look at us like we’re lunatics if we think that toothbrush is coming anywhere near them, those goals are already starting to fade away. In the interest of starting the year off with slightly more realistic good intentions, we thought we’d take a second to set a few New Year’s Resolutions we can actually stick to, and remind ourselves of a few things that we may already be pretty darned good at!
Resolution 1: Take More Photos
Some of you already have this well covered, with phones, cameras, and social media accounts chock full of photos of your four legged friends. In your case, this will be easy! For the rest of us, it’s worth saying. Snap an extra photo of your dog or cat here and there. They may make that silly face at you every morning at breakfast or snuggle up in your laundry basket every time you leave it unattended, but even those ordinary moments of life are nice to look back on later.
Resolution 2: Measure Your Pet’s Food
This may sound simple, but it’s something that not all of us routinely do, and it results in a lot of weight gain or weight loss mysteries to unravel. Even if you have that rare cat or dog that free feeds successfully, managing his or her own weight with ease, it’s still worthwhile to know how much food you’re putting in their bowl so you have some idea if there’s been a change in their usual routine. For example, if your dog or cat starts vomiting or seems not quite as energetic as usual, it’s helpful to know when you last filled their bowl with food and how much you put in it when you did. This gives you and your veterinarian helpful clues to determine what might be going on, and keeps your pet healthier for longer!
Resolution 3: Set Up a Savings Fund For Your Pet
Even if it’s just a small amount each month, setting aside money in a rainy day fund for your pet is a great habit to start. At the very least, having a dedicated savings account for your pet can reduce financial stress if your four legged friend becomes ill or injured. In the case of a truly catastrophic illness or unexpected injury, it could even give you the leeway you need to save their life.
Resolution 4: Cherish Your Time Together
For many of us, it seems like our pets are always around us. They are at the door to greet us when we get home, in our bedrooms demanding breakfast first thing in the morning, barking nonstop at the invisible burglars outside, and so on. Undoubtedly some pets are far clingier than others, but no matter what our pets’ personalities are, each of us has opportunities to take an extra moment to pause and focus on really enjoying the time we have this year with our four legged friends. Give an extra hug, take a few extra minutes to really enjoy your puppy’s crazy energy even though he’s driving you totally nutty, or break out your cat’s favorite snack as a fun bedtime treat (in moderation, of course!). We will never get enough years with our pets and we can never make too many memories in the ones we do have, so we resolve to enjoy them as often as humanly possible!
Resolution 5: Don’t Skip Your Pet’s Annual Exam
It may sound cliché for your vet to say this, but it’s true. A visit to your veterinarian once a year with your healthy pet in tow is not a waste of time or money. It allows your vet to continue prescribing any routine medications your pet may be taking and gives them a great opportunity to track any changes in your pet’s health from year to year. Sure, you may visit the vet at other times during the year, like during that particularly nasty bout of GI upset your dog had after eating an entire rotisserie chicken, but those are the visits where we talk about how to solve the immediate crisis at hand, not the visits where we talk about ordinary, healthy daily life with your pet. In addition to being the time to receive yearly boosters or routine testing, your pet’s annual exam where we (vets and pet owners alike) have time to focus on the little things, like how to keep your cat’s teeth healthy without having to brush them, or what you should do about your dog’s unfortunate habit of pooping in your bathroom. It’s a great time, and it’s one we don’t think you should miss out on.
Here’s to the best year yet! Bring it on, 2018!
The CVH Staff