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2015 New Year's Resolutions for Pets

Original Publication Date: December 29, 2014
By C. Sue Furman, Ph.D.

Many plan to turn over a new leaf as Father Time prepares to usher in 2015.

Sticking to New Year's resolutions is often a short-lived endeavor. It may be easier to stick to resolutions to make this a happier and healthier year for your pet. Here are a few suggestions.

Resolve to schedule your pet's annual wellness visit to keep him current on vaccinations and to get a thorough physical exam. More than 50 percent of our pets are overweight. What you consider a pudgy puppy or chubby kitty may be an overweight pet. Extra pounds can shorten your best friend's life. Ask your veterinarian for advice on proper diet and exercise for your furry friend.

Resolve to choose a healthy pet food that is appropriate for your pet's age and activity level. Rapidly growing puppies have specific nutrient requirements to ensure they grow healthy and strong.

Senior pets may need fewer calories because they have lower activity levels. Seniors may require prescription foods designed to address health issues like degenerative joint disease, allergies, kidney disease or another problem.

The recommended feeding guidelines on the pet food label help determine the proper amount for your pet's weight. If the ideal weight for your pet is 25 pounds but he weighs 30 pounds, guess which recommendation you should use to decide the correct amount of food.

Select an 8 ounce measuring cup and measure the amount of food your pet should have each meal.

Guessing or "eyeballing" the amount usually results in overfeeding and weight gain. Get your pet to his ideal weight and keep him there by measuring each meal.

Resolve to schedule an exercise routine into each day to keep your pet healthy and fit. Your dog will look forward to a regular time for a walk or a trip to the dog park. He will also anticipate a special play time. Decide the games your dog likes best. Some prefer fetch while others like tug-of-war or some other interactive time with you.

Cats usually don't play fetch, but they do like to play. Your pet store has a host of interactive cat toys like laser tag, feather wands, catnip toys, or climbable cat trees to get kitty off of the couch and involved in aerobic activity. Make a point of keeping your playtime appointments with your dog or cat. They need the exercise and the quality bonding time with you.

Resolve to groom your pet daily. Brushing removes dead hair from your pet which means less pet hair on you and the furniture. It also distributes oils from the skin to pet hair and keeps the coat healthy and shiny. A gentle brushing each day is another way to bond with your pet.

Pet resolutions can make 2015 a happy and healthy year for you and your pet.

Sue Furman, Ph.D, has published two books and a DVD on canine massage and teaches classes in pet massage, acupressure, first aid and CPR. See her schedule and submit questions at