Home   News   Article

VET SPEAK: Some new year resolution health tips for your pets

By Alison Laurie-Chalmers

Register for free to read more of the latest local news. It's easy and will only take a moment.

Click here to sign up to our free newsletters!
Watch how many 'treats' you give to your pets.
Watch how many 'treats' you give to your pets.

A LOT of people think about making healthy resolutions for themselves at the beginning of each new year. Here are some ideas that you could think about in 2023 for your beloved pets.

Dental health is always an ongoing concern with our dogs and cats. We clean our teeth daily, however most of our pets do not have this done. Many of our pets have dental problems with a plaque build-up on their teeth which can lead to gum infection and tooth loss.

Regular dental hygiene and healthcare is as important for our pets as it is for ourselves, so, you can start the new year by getting your pet used to regular teeth brushing.

There are a variety of pet toothbrushes available for different sized dogs and cats, it is important to use an advised “pet” toothpaste and not normal “human” toothpaste.

Also, encourage a strong chewing action to clean their teeth by using advised dental chews and treats. If you are unable to check or brush your pet’s teeth at home, then arrange for an appointment at your vet clinic for a dental check-up, as dental treatment may be required to avoid progressing dental disease.

RELATED: Vet Speak: Arthritis in cats is very common in later years but can be treated

Another very common issue with our pets is obesity. Many pets gained weight over the Covid restriction years, and after the Christmas/New Year festivities, we undoubtedly will see an increase in some of our patient’s weights in their new year checks, due to additional “treat” giving.

Monitor your pet’s weight regularly and feed a diet that has the correct nutritional requirement for your pet’s age, stage, and weight, and at guided amounts. Feed only their required amounts, weighing out their food for every meal, remembering to always include any additional “treats” into this total. Regularly playing with our pet cats, and taking our dogs out for exercise and walks is always a good way to help burn off calories.

Work with your pets regularly on gentle “handling training” at home. Start this from a young age, regularly training and desensitising them to accept the handling required for procedures such as ear cleaning, nail trimming, checking paws, pads and nails, cleaning eyes, grooming coats, and for dental checks and teeth brushing. Ultimately this will mean that handling for these checks will be less stressful for you, for your pet, and for your vet!

Alison Laurie.
Alison Laurie.

Find fun ways to engage your pet’s mind. It is important to recognise that our pets do need regular, healthy mental stimulation, so make sure that they have regular interactive play sessions and exercise.

Handle and play with your pets daily and give your dog plenty of exercise adequate for their age and stage. Use puzzle-feeders for food or treats, and you can also play hide and seek with “treats” hidden around the house. Also, change your pet’s toys about regularly to stimulate play.

Lastly remember the importance of preventative pet health. Make sure that your pet attends your vet regularly for general health checks, preventative vaccinations and preventative flea, tick and worming treatments throughout the year. Regular health checks also mean that any new medical conditions can be picked up on early, and hopefully any appropriate further tests and treatments given.

Schedule a general health check-up appointment to keep your lovely pets in tip top health in 2023.

– Alison Laurie-Chalmers is a senior consultant at Crown Vets in Inverness.

Do you want to respond to this article? If so, click here to submit your thoughts and they may be published in print.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More