New Year’s Resolutions

 

It’s that time of year again!

Here are a few ideas to help you commit to your resolutions.

 


1. Get More exercise

The best reason to keep up this resolution is that your dog will love you!!

Even adding an extra ten minutes to your walk each day is another whole hour of exercise each week.

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2. Eat healthily

Do you ever consider the type of food and treats that you are feeding to your pet?

A lot of common health problems can be caused by food additives in pet foods or treats. I am always amazed when people offer to show me what they feed their pets. Quite often the larder cupboard is flled with a volume of treats about three times the size of the pet.

An awful lot of these treats are filled with JUNK. Don’t be fooled by phrases such as ‘Natural’, ‘Real ingredients’, ‘Healthy’ or ‘No artificial additives.’ These statements are fairly meaningless. The treats can still contain an awful lot of fat, fillers and things that your pet wouldn’t normally choose to eat.

They are also expensive! Why feed your dog highly processed ‘chicken flavour strips’ at £3 a packet when you could get some cooked chicken breast from the supermarket and give that instead?

Try resisting the marketing hype, save yourself some money and improve your pet’s diet with less processed treats. Instead you can give dogs and cats small pieces of chicken, liver or fish. Some dogs also enjoy carrot, apple and other fruit and veg.

 

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Natural Instinct - Natural Senior (Chicken & Vegetables) - Ingredients: British chicken with bone (75%), carrot, apple, butternut squash, spinach, sea kelp, Scottish salmon oil

 


3. Lose weight

Could your pet do with losing a few pounds? Is this one of your own goals? Why not do it together?

Many veterinary surgeries run weight clinics and can supply you with plenty of advice, support and even a weight loss chart (for your pet!). Often there are weight loss competitions run by pet food companies and others so look out for these for an added incentive.

Cutting out all those unhealthy treats and adding those extra few minutes to your walk each day will also help.

For a fat cat playing some hunting games with a fishing toy or string, or some hide and seek games with just a few dreamies inside boxes or paper bags will get them to move more. Restrict feeding to set meal times and take up the food in between times so they cannot graze.

Another very effective way to get your cat to take more exercise is to set up a feeding station at the end of the garden – and remove all the others. You may have to do this in steps or show your cat several times where the food is now provided.

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4. Give up smoking


If you’re looking for incentives to give up smoking consider this - smoking around your pet in a confined space subjects them to the risks of passive smoking.

Pets that live in houses where the owners smoke are known to be at greater risk of lung disease and cancers. Cats are particularly prone as their airways are smaller and so clog up more easily. Many cats are known to suffer from asthma and this will be made worse by living in a smoking household.

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5. Balancing the budget

Pets can be a significant drain on the household finance. Vet bills when they come are usually unplanned and often hefty.

Pet insurance is one solution to this problem but policies vary enormously so take some time researching the various options to see if there is one that suits your needs.

Many practices now run pet health clubs which allow you to spread the cost of your pets’ routine treatments such as vaccinations and flea treatment by paying monthly. Often on these schemes you will also save compared with buying all the products at your annual booster visit. Some of the schemes also include accident insurance at very reasonable rates.

Insurance becomes very expensive if you have several pets. I know many people in these circumstances have a savings account for their pet’s vet bills. Paying in a little each month so there is something to draw on when you need it. (And don’t forget to stop spending money on all those unhealthy treats!)

 

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6. Get organised

Treat yourself to a plastic wallet to keep all your pet’s essential paperwork in – vaccination certificate, insurance policy, microchip documents.

Cats will not be required to be chipped and there is no scheme offering free chips for cats but it is still well worth getting your cat chipped. Cats are far more frequently lost than dogs and far more frequently handed in to vet practices when they have been playing with cars. Having a chip means that they can be reunited with their owners much more quickly.

 

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7. Try something new

Have you ever thought about feeding your dog or cat a raw diet?

There is increasing evidence that animals fed on raw diets have fewer chronic health problems such as skin disease and bowel problems. There is a lot of advice available about raw diets but as always with the internet a lot is of dubious quality. If this is something you are interested in find a sympathetic vet – not all are – and chat your ideas over with them.

Try an agility, training or socialisation class with your dog.

Have your dogs’ manners slipped? (Did they have any in the first place?) A well-trained and responsive dog is a lot more fun for everyone, including the dog. Most dogs enjoy working for rewards. Make sure you find a class or trainer that uses positive or reward methods of training.

 

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8. Do a good deed

Let your favourite vet or pet service know that you appreciate them by leaving a review on The Good Vet and Pet Guide!

 

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