New Year’s resolutions!

Another New year has started and as usual, we all write down our resolutions. I want all pet owners to include their pet’s well-being in their lists. Here are a couple of important ones that can benefit both humans and their companions:

  • Invest in pet insurance or start a pet health savings plan as the year begins.

The economic outlook this year is a bit scary with rumors of recession and inflation. Therefore having a pet health plan can help you avoid financial issues if your pet is sick or even avoid the unpleasant thought of “economic euthanasia.“ Even healthy pups and cats can have emergencies like toxicities, accidents, fight injuries, and foreign bodies. These are 100 percent treatable but also very expensive if they require hospitalization and surgical intervention. It is much less expensive to prevent a disease than it is to treat it. Some of these healthcare plans will even reimburse some money for yearly blood work and routine dental care. Many pet owners underestimate the power of routine blood work and veterinary care. Finding blood values that might be predisposing factors for disease early enough can completely change the course of the disease. Also, it is a good way to increase the longevity and quality of life of your pet because we act swiftly before any symptoms appear. Don’t procrastinate and miss veterinary exams and visits. If your pet is injured or ill, delaying veterinary attention could actually lead to higher expenses! If you do not find a plan you like, then open an extra savings bank account and make a $50 per paycheck automatic deposit that can build up a reserve for any emergencies or pet care surprises.

  • Start an exercise program that includes your furry friend.

Many pets in the United States are as overweight or obese as their human counterparts. The new year is a great time to make a commitment to lose those extra pounds! This resolution is one of the most popular with humans and should include pets. Studies show that dog owners spend about twice as much time walking each week than non-dog owners. This positive reinforcement can be beneficial for your goals AND help your pet lose weight too! In addition, walking together is a way to strengthen the body with your pet and also release stress. In addition, this activity enriches the dog’s brain and deepens the human-animal bond. Some studies have proven a deeper bond can benefit by boosting oxytocin in both pets and humans.

  • Book regular spa days for both you and your pets.

Looking our best is another popular resolution each year. Why not include your pets? Keeping a pet well-groomed can help prevent skin issues and the associated expense of a veterinarian. Setting a recurrent appointment for your pet will guarantee that your fluffy companion gets the nails clipped, ears cleaned and fur taken care of regularly. It will also serve as a second pair of eyes examining your pet and noticing if there are issues that demand veterinary attention. Happy and healthy 2023 to all my readers.

Dr. Mitsie Vargas is at Orchid Springs Animal Hospital in Winter Haven. She can be reached at drmitsie@gmail.com

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