by Dr Michael Ferreira
January is already almost over, and many of us are wondering whether we will be able to keep to those New Year’s resolutions we made. Even if you don’t consciously make a list, I suspect most of us have probably subconsciously thought about things that we would like to do better or more of this year. But with this being a blog post on a Vet’s website, I am obviously not going to address YOUR New Year’s resolutions, but instead focus on what we can do to improve the lives of our pets in the year ahead.
Most humans aim to lose a bit of weight as a New Year’s resolution, but the many pets can also benefit from shedding a few kilos. We as pet owners struggle to be objective about our pets’ weight. In my experience, many pets we see for examinations are overweight or obese. Being overweight leads to increased strain on joints, organs and the cardiovascular system and can even exacerbate allergies. A recent study has found that overweight pets live on average 2 years less than dogs that are at their ideal weight. If you would like an honest opinion about your pet’s weight, please make a free Weight Clinic appointment with one of our amazing nurses, where you will receive a weight assessment and a safe personalised diet plan for your pet.
Secondly, I would advise resolving to bring your pets for regular check-ups on at least an annual basis. Often medical conditions such as itchy skin and ears, lumps and lameness get left for far too long before the vet sees them. We strongly recommend annual vaccination, which protects your pet against infectious diseases and includes a full medical examination to identify any underlying medical issues. You can also discuss any concerns you may have about your pet with one of our friendly vets and explore treatment options. Preventative care and early detection of medical conditions may save your pet a lot of suffering and you some money if managed early.
Thirdly, I would advise more playtime or doing fun or interesting things with your pet. A bored pet is often a naughty pet, causing havoc in your home. Taking your dog for a walk in a new area, getting your cat new toys, or just playing with your pets helps reduce the risk of boredom. Furthermore, the benefit of being outside or spending time with your beloved pets has been scientifically proven to improve your mood as well.
Come to think of it, I don’t think that this blog post is just about pets. If we end up having happier, healthier pets and create opportunities to spend quality time with them, it makes us happier, healthier human beings. Who doesn’t feel better when coming home after a long day of work and being greeted by a tail wag or purr? I know I do!