Make 2023 your pet’s healthiest, happiest year yet. New Year’s resolutions aren’t only for people, and you might want to consider setting goals that focus on your pet. Our Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs team gives pet-friendly New Year’s resolutions two paws up! Read our four easy ideas to jump-start your pet’s health.  

#1: Ensure your pet is in good health

As you do for your own health, taking a proactive approach to your pet’s health and wellness can enhance their overall quality of life and increase their longevity. Help ensure you and your pet enjoy many years together by scheduling—and attending—their annual veterinary wellness examinations. Veterinary wellness exams’ many benefits include:

  • Early health condition identification — Pets tend to be very good at hiding disease signs, and regular wellness screenings are essential for your veterinarian to detect an adverse health condition at its earliest stage. Most conditions are easier to manage before they reach an advanced stage, and through early detection, your pet’s prognosis is typically better. 
  • Weight monitoring — Regular wellness screenings include a professional veterinary weight assessment to determine if your pet is at an ideal weight. 
  • Baseline blood work — Your pet’s baseline blood work results help your veterinarian track your four-legged friend’s health over time. 
  • Parasite protection — Parasites, such as fleas, ticks, and intestinal worms, exist within almost every environment. To protect your pet from the diseases these parasites transmit, your furry pal should undergo annual parasite testing and receive year-round monthly parasite preventives.  
  • Infectious disease protection — Vaccinations are important for protecting your pet from serious infectious diseases, such as rabies and distemper. To help your pet avoid these diseases, ensure their vaccinations remain up-to-date.  

Good health sets the foundation for a good year and a good life. Prioritizing your pet’s preventive health in 2023 is a worthy resolution. 

#2: Protect your pet’s dental health

Periodontal disease is pets’ most commonly diagnosed health condition. Almost all pets have dental disease signs by age 3, and left unchecked, the problem will progress as a pet ages. Although you are a devoted pet owner, you may be overlooking your furry pal’s dental health, and your pet’s stinky breath is likely more serious than you think. Similar to people, pets develop plaque, which builds up on their teeth over time, causing painful, progressive, dental disease. To prevent or slow periodontal disease progression, brush your pet’s teeth daily to remove plaque before the sticky substance hardens into tartar. When brushing your pet’s teeth, use a pet-safe toothpaste. Products such as chews, water additives, and dental diets can also supplement daily brushing to improve your pet’s dental health. In addition to an at-home dental care routine, all pets require periodic professional dental procedures to clean below the gumline, where you cannot reach with a toothbrush. 

#3: Evaluate your pet’s weight

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 59.5% of U.S. cats and 55.8% of U.S. dogs are considered overweight or obese. Excess pounds can cause pain, cell and tissue damage, and chronic disease, and impair immune function. Pets are considered overweight when they weigh 10% more than their ideal body weight, and obese when they weigh 20% or more than their ideal weight. If you’re unsure about your pet’s weight, use a body condition score (BCS) chart to assess their physical condition, or schedule a weight-loss consultation with our Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs team to ensure your pet lives a long, lean, and healthy life.

#4: Increase your pet’s exercise

Exercise is good for your mind, body, and soul—and the same goes for your pet. As a responsible pet owner, you should ensure your furry pal receives adequate exercise—about 15 to 30 minutes daily. An exercise plan’s many benefits include:

  • Improving your pet’s behavior — A bored, under-exercised pet can easily get in trouble at home—such as chewing on your shoes or furniture—and a tired pet is far less likely to participate in destructive behaviors.
  • Keeping your pet lean — A pet who exercises regularly is less likely to become overweight, decreasing their risk for developing weight-related health conditions. 
  • Supporting your pet’s mental health — Getting out and exploring builds your pet’s confidence and self-esteem, which fulfills their social interaction needs and reduces their anxiety development risk. 

Every year you spend with your pet is a good year, and by making health-focused pet resolutions, you help ensure you enjoy many happy years together. To learn about additional New Year’s health goals for your pet or to schedule their wellness exam, contact our Animal Clinic of Council Bluffs team.