A new year means new goals ranging from health and fitness to personal growth and happiness.
But what about the four-legged members of the family? While they can't make the resolutions themselves, as awesome pet owners, you can include their well-being and care into your list of New Year Resolutions. Here are some suggestions to help you make 2018 a great year for everyone - two-legged and four-legged.
That's generally the "go-to" resolution on everyone's list. Not only do we get in shape, but we do it to feel better in general. Well, imagine how much better it would be for you if you shared it with your pup or cat! For the dogs in your family, discover a new walking trail in or near New Orleans. The Couterie Forest is right here in City Park. It's the perfect escape without leaving town. Southern Louisiana also has some of the most beautiful state parks, the majority of which allow dogs on leashes. Just make sure you check before you go. For cats - playtime goes a long way for both of you. A feather wand adds hours (okay, a lot of minutes) of fun time. A good game of hide-and-seek also satisfies their predatory instincts. Make them seek out their favorite treat or catnip-filled toy.
In recent years, the greater New Orleans area has stepped up by providing socializing parks for dogs. It also reminds us humans to disconnect for a while. NOLA City Bark is centrally located in City Park, and the ones at the Bonnabel Boat Launch and Pontiff Playground are convenient for the surrounding neighborhoods.
Year-Round Health Check
We know pets can be vulnerable to a range of infectious diseases and illnesses, and most are masters at hiding it, and just about all show pain or illness in different ways. The things to be aware of include ear infections, dental disease, skin infection, arthritis, obesity...the best thing you can do for your pet is know them. Know their bodies, personality, habits, and check them for injury or illness every day (the way your pet behaves could be an early indicator of illness). If you have any concerns at all, make an appointment with your vet. Below is a general checklist to help keep you on track throughout the year:
- Teeth - Avoid plaque build-up by taking your pet to your vet for regular dental care. Check regularly for infection and visit your vet if you have any concerns. There are also special dog toothbrushes and paste available to help keep their teeth and gums healthy in-between visits.
- Weight - Check that your pet is not obese by feeling the outline of his or her ribs. There shouldn't be any excess fat and you should be able to see and feel your dog or cat's waist.
- General health - Ensure that your pet has yearly health checks and ask your vet for advice about vaccinations.
- Flea and Heartworm Prevention - We cannot stress this enough. Simple, regular treatment can help your pet's long-term health, and prevent more serious parasitic infections. We also highly recommend treatment against mosquitoes, especially during warmer months, since they carry the parasite that leads to heartworm. Double prevention never hurts!
- Healthy coat and nails - It's key to ensure your dog's coat and nails are kept in good condition with regular grooming, a balanced diet, access to fresh water, and plenty of exercise adequate for whichever size or age your pet is.