If you’re one of the many pet owners whose New Year’s resolutions include their pet, we commend you. The new year is the perfect time to evaluate your pet care routine and set goals that support your pet’s health and wellbeing. Of course, achieving New Year’s resolutions can feel challenging, so our Palisades Veterinary Hospital team is sharing the five essential pet items that can jump-start your pet’s health journey. 

#1: Get your pet a new toothbrush

Every pet needs their own toothbrush, and if your pet doesn’t have one, make 2023 the year you invest in this powerful dental health tool. By the time they are 3 years of age, more than 70% of pets experience some form of early periodontal (i.e., dental) disease. Fortunately, prevention is simple and effective, starting with daily toothbrushing. If you do not regularly brush your pet’s teeth, plaque can build up, putting them at risk for bad breath, gum disease, painful infections, and tooth decay. Make a resolution to improve your pet’s dental hygiene and ensure their mouth is healthy by following these steps:

  • Daily toothbrushing — Brushing your pet’s teeth daily reduces oral plaque and bacteria, helping keep dental disease at bay.
  • Professional dental cleanings — All pets require periodic professional dental cleanings to maintain good oral health and prevent problems. 
  • Dental health products — Dental chews, oral rinses, and cleansing agents that can be added to your pet’s drinking water can minimize plaque buildup. Use Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC)-approved products, or ask your veterinarian to recommend safe, appropriate pet dental health products.

#2: Upgrade your pet’s bed

In our busy lives, we often forget how important sleep is to overall health—for ourselves and our pets. As do people, pets need plenty of rest to stay healthy, and because your furry pal spends much of their day sleeping, a high-quality, comfortable bed is essential. Over the years, pet beds have come a long way, with some now rivaling the comfort of mattresses for people. If your pet’s current bed has become shapeless or flat, consider a 2023 upgrade. Orthopedic pet beds are designed to provide support while cushioning your pet’s bony joints—especially their hips, knees, and elbows. A heated bed or insert can ease joint and muscle pain, and are especially comforting for older, arthritic pets. High-quality sleep supports your pet’s comfort and overall health, and will help improve their quality of life. 

#3: Give your pet a new leash and collar

Now is a great time to improve your pet’s daily exercise routine, and purchasing them a new leash and collar can also help motivate you to lace up your shoes and get outdoors with your furry friend. Regular exercise—ideally 15 to 30 minutes daily—is an important part of your pet’s health. Exercise’s benefits include:

  • Keeps your pet fit — Coupled with a healthy diet, exercise is the best way to keep your pet at a healthy weight.
  • Supports your pet’s health — Exercise helps your pet maintain a healthy digestive and circulatory system.
  • Prevents behavioral problems — A bored, under-exercised pet is likely to demonstrate destructive behavior such as chewing, digging, and barking. Exercise provides your furry friend an outlet for releasing their energy, reducing the chances of your favorite shoes being gnawed to shreds. 
  • Boosts your pet’s mood — Without regular exercise, pets can become depressed. Walks are an especially great way to help improve your pet’s mood because this activity allows them to sniff, socialize, and spend time with their favorite person—you.

#4: Buy interactive pet toys

Your pet’s mental stimulation is as important as physical exercise. Interactive toys provide your pet with mental enrichment, benefitting your four-legged friend’s mental and physical health. Any pet toy can become interactive, but if you’re short on time, give your pet an engaging toy to play with independently, such as one that prompts their prey-catching instincts. Cats love anything on a spring, while dogs prefer toys that reward them with a treat.

#5: Schedule a veterinary preventive care examination

Preventive veterinary care is the best way to protect your pet’s health—today and in the future. Some pet owners think their pet needs veterinary care only when they are sick or injured, but routine wellness exams are essential for maintaining your pet’s overall health and wellbeing. At your pet’s annual wellness exam, your veterinarian can diagnose early disease signs, and treat the condition before it progresses. Finding the time to schedule your own yearly physical can be a challenge, so schedule your annual checkup right after making your pet’s appointment. Remember, preventive care is the best gift you can give yourself and your pet. 

Our Palisades Veterinary Hospital team can provide you with tips on helping your pet achieve the New Year’s resolutions you have set for your furry friend. Celebrate the new year by scheduling your pet’s wellness exam with our Palisades Veterinary Hospital team.