New Year’s Resolutions may be Old School but there’s a lot to be said for dumping bad habits and welcoming bright, shiny, healthy new ones at the beginning of a new year, especially when it comes to our pets. Here are ours:
- Dirty beds
Dirty beds harbour parasites like ticks and fleas, even if you’ve applied parasite control directly to your dog or cat. There’s nothing more a flea likes than to sneak in somewhere warm and dark, and the folds in an old bed create the perfect hiding place. Ticks and fleas cause biliary and tapeworm; tapeworm can affect your whole family. Throw out that dirty dog bed and replace with a new one.
- Worn collars
Too few pet owners appreciate how easy it is for frayed collars and leads to snap. Imagine the nightmare if your dog gets away from you while crossing a busy road. Old collars also harbour bacteria which can cause skin irritation and infection. Check leads and collars and if you’re replacing, consider adding a tag. Tags with fun quotes and logos can be personalised with your contact details in minutes at any EberVet Vetshop.
- Broken toys
A toy may be your pet’s only companion while you’re at work but if it’s worn or broken it could harm their teeth or cause gum infection.
- Table snacking
Feeding your dog or cat from the table puts them at risk as many human foods are toxic to pets, like chocolate, grapes, onions and the sweetener xylitol which is used to sweeten everything from cookies to toothpaste. Stick to pet-friendly snacks instead, like ostrich sinews or tuna-flavoured cat biscuits. You can keep a stash in the freezer.
- Your pet’s health calendar Draw up a list of health essentials every pet needs; like an annual checkup, vaccinations, sterilisation and dental cleaning and book those appointments with your vet. Prevention is always healthier – and a whole lot cheaper – than cure.
- Parasite control
It’s so easy these days to protect your pet against ticks, fleas and worms. There are a host of medications available, from chewables to collars and spot-ons. Some last for several months. If you don’t use parasite control don’t be surprised if your pet (and your family) ends up with worms or your home has a nasty flea infestation. And biliary (caused by ticks) can be deadly to dogs.
This is a resolution almost every human on the planet breaks within the first week of the new year. But maybe with your dog at your side, you won’t. Use your dog’s need for exercise as personal motivation. Exercise not only keeps your dog’s weight under control and strengthens his bones and muscles, it also keeps his mind engaged so boredom (and destructive behaviour) are kept at bay.
- A new diet
As pets age their dietary needs change. What’s good for a young, active cat or dog is most certainly not suited to the ageing tabby or lazy Lab who sleeps all day. To protect your pet’s heart, kidneys, liver and joints chat with your vet about your pet’s dietary needs. Nutrition plays an enormous role in longevity; and investing in good nutrition saves significantly on vet’s bills too
Veterinarian Dr Hilldidge Beer is CEO of the EberVet Petcare Group and EberVet Vetshops, www.ebervet.com.