The New Year has begun and while you may have set resolutions for yourself, have you also set them for your furry family member? Just like you, a loving pet could benefit from improvements made to their daily wellness routine.

To start off the year right, here are some ideas which will help promote a healthier 2022 for your four-legged friends.

  • Is your pet eating right?

Right now is the perfect time to see what, when, and how much your pet is eating to make sure it falls within the guidelines for their weight, age, and breed. While your first instinct may be to just eyeball how much food goes into their bowl, it is best to use a measuring cup to ensure they are receiving the proper amount.

If you have any questions about the proper amount of food per day, please talk to your veterinarian as they can advise you on the appropriate portion. Larimer Humane Society Supervising Veterinarian Dr. Lindsey Gapstur says, “Food guides on the bag can be helpful, but your veterinarian can give you a better measurement to accomplish your goals of getting your pet to their ideal weight and body condition.”

  • If your pet needs to lose weight, now is the time to focus on it.

Did the holiday season bring a few extra pounds to your furry family member? If so, now is the time to take the opportunity to make a weight loss plan with assistance from your veterinarian. It’s key to remember that obesity in pets can affect their overall health and life span, and can contribute to problems such as diabetes and osteoarthritis.

Your veterinarian can develop a plan which will revolve around the amount of daily caloric intake that can allow them to lose weight while avoiding hunger issues or losing weight too quickly.

  • Add an extra walk to their daily schedule.

This is where you and your pet can assist one another in meeting your new year’s resolutions. By adding more walks to your exercise regimen, you and your dog can both work toward a healthier 2022. 

Walks for your dog provide not only exercise but also enrichment through the smells and sounds of the dog’s environment. Plus you can use it as an excellent bonding moment.

If you’re walking during the winter months, which can be quite cold and snowy in Colorado, care should be taken to prepare your dog for the elements outside. Dog booties can help to avoid freezing ground, rock salt, or any other foreign objects that can cause irritation to the paw.

  • Take care of their teeth.

One of the best things you can do for your pet — both cats and dogs — is to focus on their dental care routine. It’s best to start by brushing their teeth a few nights a week while working up to daily brushings. 

A slow introduction to teeth brushing can be helpful, and positive reinforcement — like treats and enthusiastic praise — is a must. It’s also important for your veterinarian to evaluate your pet’s dental health, as a professional cleaning or more advanced work may be needed. “It is important to use toothpaste specifically formulated for pets as some types of human toothpaste can be toxic,” says Gapstur. “Ask your veterinarian for tips and tricks to improve your pet’s dental health.”