New Year, New Start

PetMD Editorial
Written by:
PetMD Editorial
Published: January 12, 2009
New Year, New Start

Top 10 Resolutions for Your Pet

Get organized. Check. Get a better job. Check. Lose weight. Check that one twice. This New Year isn’t unlike any other -- you've probably made resolutions that you'll struggle to keep after the first week. Make a real difference in 2012 and forge a pact with your pet. These resolutions will help keep your pet happy, healthy and safe throughout the year. And well, what's more important than that?


  • Annual checkups are vital. Do not wait until your pet is deathly ill. Not only is it cruel to let your pet suffer needlessly, complications may arise and this will make the animal's course of treatment more expensive. Keep your vet bills in check and visit the white-coated professional as regularly as possible.
  • Have your pet spayed or neutered. Yes, we all know it was Bob Barker's famous closing line on The Price is Right and that it helps decrease the population of strays, but did you know there are a lot of health benefits for the animal? Among them: a decrease in testicular cancer, prostate problems, urine marking and inter-dog (or inter-cat) aggression for males, and a decrease in mammary cancer, uterine infection, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer for females.
  • Vaccinate your pet and make sure it takes heartworm and flea medication regularly (though watch for flea allergies). Other than your vet, preventative medicine is your pet's best line of defense. It will fend off deadly diseases and pesky parasites.

Diet and Exercise

  • Diets must be suited to the animal's age and size. When kept at their ideal body weight, pets live longer, and healthier lives. They are also at a lower risk of heart disease, joint problems, and various other conditions associated with poor health.
  • Need an exercise partner? Look no further. Some dogs are satisfied with a walk around the neighborhood once a day, while others require additional exercise time. Take it to a park, to the beach or to your backyard, just make sure you have fun, too! Oh, and don't forget about your other pet(s). Just because it isn't a dog, doesn't mean it doesn't need exercise. Learn more about exercising your cat here


  • Pet identification can be lifesaver. Whether it is a tag or a microchip, identifying your pet and your contact information will help your chances of having your pet returned should it become lost -- especially in the case of lost dogs and cats.
  • Pet-proof your home. As you might already know, pets get into anything and everything. Keep poisons and other dangerous items in secure places, preferably in a locked cabinet or in a room that is out of the animal's reach.


  • There is nothing worse than a stinky pet. Stay on top of its grooming routine -- bathe it, brush its coat, and clip its nails. All these things will make it the envy of your block. And if you haven't noticed yet, your pet is usually happier when it is clean and pretty.


  • Maintenance is perhaps the most dreaded of all pet resolutions. Perhaps it's the awful smells or all the cleaning involved. Whatever the reason, developing proper maintenance habits (e.g., emptying the litter box, cleaning the cage, changing the newspaper clippings) will create a clean and pleasant environment for your pet. Also, poor sanitation can lead to behavior and health issues.
  • Train your pet and make sure it socializes with other animals of its own kind. Pets are like children, and as such they can become destructive when they are not given enough attention. Obedience/training courses are just what your pet needs to learn some manners. And remember, it's never too late to train an animal.

Image: cutiepiecompany / via Flickr

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