SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas (KVEO) – If you made some new year’s resolutions this year, do not forget to include your pet. Animal care experts have some advice that you can use to make sure 2021 is the best year for you and your fur baby.
At the start of the new year, we tend to look inward for things we can do to improve ourselves and our wellbeing, this year Paige Kowalsky, lead caretaker at Friends of Animals Shelter, is advising on how we include our furry companions on the journey.
Some of the most common resolutions for humans revolve around health and weight loss. Whether it is exercising more, eating less junk food, or getting enough sleep, we may have all promised ourselves this at one point or another.
Including our pet can help us achieve these goals and benefit their health.
In 2019 the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reported 60% of cats and 56% of dogs were obese or overweight in the United States.
Some may think the extra pound on an animal adds another level of cuteness, but it may be adding stress to their bodies as well.
“They can tear ligaments in their legs from being overweight. There’s a lot of stress on their legs, their paws, their bones,” said Kowalsky. “It’s, just like a human, you just want them to be as healthy as possible.”
Incorporating your dog into your workout routine can help shave off extra weight for both of you. Aiming for longer walks or even a run has positive effects on your animal’s health and happiness.
“I have a huge dog at home and he has tons of energy so we at least walk two or three miles a day. I know that’s not possible for everyone, but even playing fetch in the house or in the yard, tug-of-war, just getting them active, off the couch and moving around,” said Kowalsky.
Changing our diet is often at the top of our priorities list at the start of the year, but before you think about doing that for your pet, talk to your veterinarian first.
On the subject of vet visits, make it a point to schedule your animal’s yearly check-up and make sure you get them their vaccinations on time, prevention is key to their health and wellbeing.
The care does not stop there. Hygiene is just as important for your pet as it is for you. Kowalsky recommends getting their teeth checked frequently.
“Dogs can get mouth and gum disease super easy if you’re not careful in taking care of that,” she said.
Lastly, spending time with your pet and getting to know their behaviors will help you communicate with them better and catch their symptoms when they are not feeling well.
“Especially with new pet owners, dogs have a lot of anxiety, it can take an animal up to three months to get used to their new home,” said Kowalsky.
Friends of Animal Rescue is a no-kill shelter on South Padre Island. To learn more, visit their website.