Our pets’ Vet’s new year’s resolutions

As we say good-bye to last year and look ahead to 2018, this is the time we make plans to better ourselves and lives in the year ahead. This week is full of new year’s resolutions ranging from diet plans to new budgets, increased traveling and family time to better organization and time management. Resolutions are often difficult to stick to when doing them alone, but when getting a good support system in place, we set ourselves up for success. A great idea is to get our pets involved. They should be included in any of your new plans, and they can be a great encouragement or support. Here are a few tips to help include your furry friend in your plans.

  1. When making diet changes, the big conversation I always have with my clients is you have to measure what you feed. Filling up the bowl is not a good way to feed. It does not matter whether it’s one meal or two, but you need to have a set amount that you feed daily so you will know if you how to adjust if needed. You also need to cut out the unnecessary snacks. I’m not saying get rid of them all together, but moderation is definitely key this year. Let’s limit them to 3 per day. I’d also like for you to cut all the treats in half—so really, you’re giving three ‘half’ treats a day.
  2. Plan to get moving around this year. Walking is a great way for you dog to get out and move their joints. It also allows for them to smell the neighborhood and enjoy the outdoors. Just start with one block and increase the distance as you feel comfortable. For our feline friends, placing treats or food at different levels will encourage them to jump up and down to eat. Laser pointer toys can sometimes encourage play, but some cats are just not interested. Feeder toys such as the Slim-Cat or Pipolino work well – both will force you cat to push the feeder around in order to get their kibble to come out.
  3. Be sure to include your pet’s healthcare needs in your budget this year. Plan for annual visits, heartworm/flea prevention, potential lab work and dental care if needed. Preventative care is much better to handle and deal with versus trying to deal with diseases allowed to progress unmanaged.

Setting up a few resolutions for the New Year can be a fun for you and your pet—your pet will also only act a good support and won’t judge of you have a bad day or break your diet. Just make a plan this week for the year and implement it for everyone. It can be very simple with just a few small changes. If you have any questions about what you should be doing differently with your pet, diet change, or increased exercise, please contact your veterinarian. Do not make any sudden diet changes without speaking with your veterinarian first. If you’d like more information regarding this topic, please contact askthevet@la-spca.org. If you’d like to make an appointment at the Louisiana SPCA Community Clinic, please call 504.363.1333 or visit www.la-spca.org/clinic.

Dr. Adrianna Smith has been with the Louisiana SPCA for about 2 years; she worked in private practice in Metairie for three years before joining the LA SPCA team. She earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from Ross University School of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Smith has one dog, which she adopted from the LASPCA. If you have any questions for Dr. Smith, email askthevet@la-spca.org or visit la-spca.org/clinic.