Resolve to get pets healthier

New Year’s resolutions aren’t only for humans – our four-legged friends can benefit from healthier routines as well.

Doctors from ACCES, an emergency veterinary hospital in Seattle, are encouraging pet owners to consider their pets when making resolutions for the new year.

“Maybe it is time to focus on finally getting that extra weight off your beloved companion,” said Dr. Beth Davidow, ACCES medical director, in a news release. “Or perhaps it is time to schedule that long overdue dental. Just remember that you are your pet’s best advocate and change starts with you.”

My dog, Nema, demonstrating her yoga poses.

My dog, Nema, demonstrating her yoga poses.

The medical team offered up these resolutions for people and pets in 2015:

-Ensure your pet receives an appropriate diet: Weight gain in pets, just like in humans, can increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease and arthritis. If you notice your pet has packed on a few pounds or seems lethargic, schedule an exam with your veterinarian to discuss weight loss.

-Schedule an annual exam with your vet: Regular exams are important to establish good health and can be crucial in detecting emerging disease. For older pets on medications, a yearly exam is an important part of the monitoring process

-Try to be more active with your pet or incorporate more playtime into your routine:Dogs and cats need a healthy amount of activity in their daily lives to keep fit and mentally stimulated.

-Keep up on your pet’s grooming needs: Brushing your pet helps keep their coat shiny and healthy. Untrimmed nails can be painful for your pet while regularly trimmed nails will protect your clothes and furniture.

-Make oral hygiene care with your pet a priority: Regular dental cleanings are recommended for both cats and dogs. Dental cleanings focus on removing the tartar visible on teeth and can improve the health of gingiva.

-Update your pet’s microchip and tags:Time and time again, lost pets brought to the shelter or emergency animal clinic have out-of-date tags and microchips. Updating ID information is the best way to ensure a lost pet makes its way safely home.

-Pet-proof your home and property:Make sure you know what plants and foods are toxic to your pet and keep those well out of reach. Also, make sure electrical cords, strings and other easy to swallow items are safely secured.

Marissa Harshman

Marissa Harshman

I'm the health reporter for The Columbian newspaper in Vancouver, Wash. I started at The Columbian -- my hometown newspaper -- in September 2009. Reach me at or 360-735-4546.

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