Starting the New Year Right with Winter Wellness for Your Pet
It seems like from the time we carve the Halloween pumpkins to the time we bid farewell to another year at a festive party (or in our jammies), our attention and time is maxed out with the winter holidays and all the tasks they bring. Because of this, it’s no wonder we sometimes forget a follow-up wellness appointment for our cat or that extra walk to the park we promised our dog.
The holidays have a way of overtaking our attention, but the New Year can bring many opportunities for improving the quality of life for that pet who gives you so much love year-round. Here are a few ideas….
Catching Up on Missed Veterinary Check-Ups
One of the easiest things to let slip during these hectic months are follow-up appointments for our pets’ issues that we perceive as “little things that can wait”, such as vaccines and annual wellness exams. When was the last time you checked your pet’s medical records to see when he or she is due for that important screening or set of core vaccines? January is a great time to start the New Year off on the right wellness path for your pet, and those wellness exams are essential in preventative care. If your pet is overdue, now is a good time to reach out to your regular Veterinarian to book a January appointment.
It’s safe to guess that many of our canine companions have had their walks skipped as the temperatures started to cool and the festivities took us by storm. Have you paid attention to your cat’s exercise needs, or has that Cat Dancer or feather toy stayed on the shelf the past month? January to March are opportune months to slow down and pay attention to your pets’ weight and energy levels. Encouraging activities and exercise – whether indoors or out – will keep them mentally and physically stimulated, and happier, too.
The social holiday season – with family, friends, and neighbors coming by the house – is oftentimes a good gauge for your pet’s socialization, training, and behavioral issues and needs. Did your dog continue to bark during dinner? Did your cat or other small pet experience stress, anxiety, or simply flee the scene and hide? If you’ve noticed ongoing issues with your pet’s behavior, whether it be aggression or more intense responses to strange people, sounds, or places, we recommend a behavioral consultation.
Chronic anxiety or stress can negatively impact the health of your pet and make it tough to implement any changes in the home. There are numerous options to help redirect aggression or alleviate some of the stress your pet may be experiencing. Give us a call to discuss and assist you in the referral process.
Paw and Coat Protection
Rock salts and deicers are not only toxic to your pet, they can also irritate sensitive paws and skin. As the temperatures drop and the wind chill increases, so too do your pet’s chances of developing frost bite. If you haven’t purchased a properly-fitted winter coat and set of snow boots for your dog, now is a great time. You will likely save money, too, by taking advantage of last-minute or post-holiday sales. If you elect not to purchase boots or shoes for your dog, please remember to gently clean his or her feet after those romps in the snow and down icy sidewalks to prevent irritation to the paw pads or accidental ingestion. For other winter weather safety tips, you can refer back to our blog Keeping Your Pet Safe: Ice and Snow.
Snuggle and Play Time
It’s cold outside, and the holiday season is finally over! What better way to celebrate the end of uber-busy than a nice snuggle with your favorite four-legged friend while watching an old movie or by taking an extra walk to the park? Our pets do feel the impact of our hectic lives, and even sense our stress. Start the New Year by focusing on slowing down. Tune in to your health and the health of your family and fur family, making time for laughter, playfulness, and simply being present.
From all of us at Oakland Veterinary Referral Services, we wish you and your pet a healthy, happy, and vibrant Holiday and New Year!