Dr. Patty Khuly’s Top Five Pet-Related Resolutions for 2014

Walking Dogs in the Snow
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Every year it’s the same thing. You attempt to shape up, slim down, spend less, live more or quit something for good. So how about this year you resolve to do something you’ll easily achieve? For all you pet people I’ve got just the thing: Resolve to accomplish something on your pet’s behalf instead!

Interested? Consider the following five New Year’s resolutions I’ve devised (with my patients in mind, of course):

1. Trim down. According to the Journal of Clinical Psychology, 38 percent of humans made weight-related New Year's resolutions in 2012. So why not extend that to our pets this upcoming 2014? We know that our pets are chunky and getting chunkier, so why not resolve to start trimming her down now? Not sure where to start? Ask your vet how. 

2. Get pet insurance. If you can’t afford a big vet bill in the event of an emergency, you may be facing the unthinkable unless you put a financial solution in place. My sister’s dog, Maddie, almost died of salmon poisoning last year, and had it not been for a $13,000 reimbursement to cover 80 percent of the cost of university-level healthcare, he’d have surely succumbed. Who can afford that kind of expense without help? Resolve to get your pets a policy this year!

3. Walk your dog. If you’ve made resolutions to lose weight and never managed to keep them, consider that long-term weight loss is often more easily achieved when pet owners exercise with their pets. In his book Walk a Hound Lose a Pound, vet surgeon Dr. Phil Zeltzman evangelizes about this concept in a way that’s truly inspirational. So this year resolve to get moving in a way that’s both fun and doable.

4. Take your cat to the vet. It sounds pretty basic, and yet a recent study conducted by Bayer in conjunction with the Association of Feline Practitioners found that 52 percent of owned cats did not see a veterinarian in the past year. Annual wellness visits for cats, though universally recommended by veterinarians to help prevent and manage serious disease, aren’t something most cat owners manage. Resolve to beat the odds and take your cat in this year!

5. Start brushing! I know, I know. You all hate it. But it works! You’d never think not to brush your own teeth, and yet you’d rather hand your pet a highly caloric, dubiously effective “tartar control” chew than whip out the toothbrush and spend 30 seconds brushing. What’s up with that? Resolve to fix that this year!

OK, so those are mine. What are yours?

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