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Pet health tips for new year

Posted Friday, January 4, 2013, at 2:35 PM

I am not typically one for making New Year's resolutions -- too much stress and expectation. But I do enjoy the feeling of a "fresh start" and the refocusing that the new year brings. Here are some ideas and tips to hopefully enhance the health and add some fun to your pets' lives.

It is the start of a new year, and people's thoughts often turn to diet and exercise, making up for holiday indulgences. Pets also suffer from overeating and lack of exercise. But there are more things to consider than diet and exercise when it comes to being a good example for our pets. Here, in no particular order, are tips to a healthier lifestyle for our pets and animals in need.


Regular exercise has the obvious health benefits, but it also is a great time to bond with our pets. A simple daily walk helps a dog learn proper manners, provides some good quality time, and does wonders for the human counterpart, too. Keeping pets at the proper body weight reduces the risk of heart and joint problems, diabetes, and a host of other health problems.

Health Check Up

A regular visit to your veterinarian is the best way to stay ahead of potential problems. Annual examinations of teeth, heart/lungs, and body condition overall will be less costly than waiting for a problem to develop and your pet suffering needlessly from complications of preventable problems. Having a good "baseline" of information about your pet also gives the veterinarian something to compare against and determine exactly what is wrong when something isn't quite right.

Good Nutrition

Like humans, pets who eat poor quality food just don't have the health reserves than those that a good balanced diet. Poor skin, hair coat, muscle tone, and obesity problems can be a result of a poor diet. Also, pets are not humans -- a diet rich in table scraps is not a healthy one, and can lead to problems such as obesity.

Good Grooming

No one wants to be around a stinky pet. Regular grooming -- bathing, toe nail clips, brushing teeth and hair coat, parasite control -- not only make the pet more pleasing to be around, it is much healthier for the pet. For skin and coat problems that don't resolve with regular grooming, please see your veterinarian -- there may be an underlying medical condition affecting the skin, coat and nails.


Keeping pets safe is something most pet owners take for granted. However, take a moment to assess the toxic chemicals used in your house and yard. Are they necessary? Are all safety precautions followed? Where are household chemicals stored? Can your pet access these items? If toxins such as rodent poisons are used, can your pet access the rodents? Think too about enclosures for pets -- is the fencing secure? Can your pet get caught or hooked up on the fence, a tree, etc. and choke or be stuck out in the weather when you are away?

Help your pet stay healthy in the New Year with these simple tips.

If you have questions about contact Dr. Norette L. Underwood at catdoc56@pcsii.com

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