Resolutions for Pets

Resolve to help your pet
Resolve to help your pet. The new year is a time of resolutions. In all seriousness, and with the best of intentions, many of us compose a list of things that we will do differently, at this time of a new beginning. Traditionally, resolutions are positive in nature. We usually resolve to make an improvement in our lives - something that will benefit us, those around us or the larger world that surrounds us. Well, what about our pets?
Now obviously they cannot succeed with resolutions without some help from their friends. However, isn't that also true for most people who make resolutions?

Here are a few resolutions that might work for some pets. Think about whether any of them might be on a list for your pet. If so, why not make one your resolutions, a commitment to help them with theirs.

People often resolve to correct a habit they would rather not have. I believe pets do things that would fit into this category of things better corrected, as well. There are dogs who jump up on people they are greeting. They are just being friendly, exuberant in saying hello. Nevertheless, it is not very pleasant to be greeted in this manner. There are dogs who chase cars. They are just reacting to an object in flight in a way that is most natural to them. However, in addition to being a nuisance to the car passengers, it puts the dog at considerable risk for injury. Some dogs have the habit of riding in the car with their head out the window. This is another habit that poses a danger to the pet.

There are cats with a habit of wanting to walk on the kitchen table or countertops. Some people are not troubled by such action, but others are bothered. Some cats want to chew on houseplants or dig in the soil where they are planted. We understand how such habits might develop but it makes it no less irritating when it happens. All these habits should be able to be corrected with a bit of concentrated effort.

People also may make a resolution to change undesirable behaviours.

Aggressive behaviour in dogs or house-soiling issues in cats are behaviour problems where most likely a veterinarian, a trainer or even a behaviour specialist will need to be consulted.

Very often people make resolutions in an effort to improve or protect their health. They determine to stop smoking, lose some weight, exercise more regularly or visit their doctor for a thorough health examination. Except for the one about smoking, there are many pets who would benefit if they resolved to deal with that list of items. Statistics reveal alarming rates of obesity in our pets. Obesity significantly impacts the health of our pets. Cardiovascular problems, musculoskeletal disorders, diabetes, certain skin diseases, the list goes on and on with health problems made more common in a pet who is overweight. Proper amounts of exercise and caloric intake - the formula for weight management is no different for people or animals.

There you have them, some potential pet resolutions. It's even possible that you may find a common resolution on a list you compose for yourself and the one for your pet. It's always great to do the two birds with one stone thing. Happy New Year and good luck to all pets and their people in achieving those 2009 resolutions.

Barry Burtis is a veterinarian with a local companion practice.