Include your pets in New Year resolutions

Published 10:43 am Friday, December 23, 2011

By DR. FRED SELF / Veterinarian

Do you make resolutions at the New Year? Many people do. Most resolutions are goal-oriented, like planning to lose weight or quit smoking. We hope to make ourselves better within the coming calendar year.

Over the course of the year most resolutions fail. There are many reasons resolutions fail. A common cause of failure is that reaching the goal alone is difficult. Often when resolutions are approached as a team of two or more the success rate is better.

When we make resolutions for the New Year, we should include our pets. By including them we have a team and a better chance to improve our lives as well as theirs.

Many pets are overweight. If you resolve this year to lose weight, include your pet in your weight-loss program. When you go for walks, take them along. This is easier if your pet is a dog. However, cats can be trained to walk on a leash and can be included on shorter walks.

Maybe your resolution is to do a better job of paying your bills on time. If you have a hard time remembering to pay your bills, you likely also forget to give your dog its heartworm prevention each month. In that case resolve to pay your bills and give heartworm prevention the same day each month.

If you have a habit that you would like to stop, sometimes replacing that habit with another activity can help. In place of the bad habit, try to spend time with your pet. Instead of going outside to smoke, try going outside to play fetch. If your habit is spending too much time playing video games, start using some of that time to brush out your long-haired pet.

If your goal for this year is to take better care of yourself, whitening your smile perhaps by, your pet can benefit as well. When you are making time to brush your teeth more often, add to it time to brush your pet’s teeth. Even brushing their teeth once a week will improve their dental health and help them keep their teeth longer.

These are not the only possible resolutions. They are, however, a good set of examples. Whatever you resolve to do this year, your success rate will be higher if you can include your pet as a part of your team.

Dr. Fred Self is a veterinarian at Shelbiana Animal Clinic in Columbiana, along with Dr. Charles Thornburg. You can reach them at 669-7717.