When you’re drawing up your New Year’s Resolutions for 2010 don’t forget to take your pet into account. The seven simple tips below from Dr. Ann Hohenhaus of The Animal Medical Center, New York City’s largest non-profit facility for veterinary care, research and education, will keep your dog or cat, and others in your community happy and healthy the whole year through!
1. Get your dog certified as a therapy dog and then start visiting hospitals, nursing homes or group living facilities. Organizations offering certification include: Bright and Beautiful Therapy Dogs, Therapy Dogs International and Delta Society.
2. Have your dog help a child learn to read! Join the R.E.A.D. (Reading Education Assistance Dogs) program at your library. This program improves children’s reading literacy using dogs as impartial listeners.
3. Don’t equate love with food. Those extra treats don’t build your bond with your pet, they only build love handles on your pet. In 2010 resolve to base your relationship with your pet on fun, not food. For a treat throw a ball to your dog or scoot the laser pointer up and down the wall to entertain your cat. Remember that cats have short attention spans so vary the activities in each play session.
4. Help your pets lose the love handles they already have by feeding them healthy snacks such as carrots, apples or air popped popcorn. And make sure that only 10% of their daily calorie requirement is fed as snacks.
5. Quitting smoking may already be on your list of New Year’s resolutions, and you should follow through on it not just for you, but for your pet! Veterinary researchers have documented that dogs and cats living in a household with a smoker do passively inhale smoke because they have elevated levels of nicotine metabolites in their urine. In cats, second-hand smoke has been also been associated with a greater risk of developing lymphoma and oral squamous cell carcinoma.
6. In the New Year don’t skip routine preventive healthcare for your pets, especially your cat. Over the past few years, the average number of times a cat visits the veterinarian per year has decreased to less than once annually. Regular veterinary care will help keep your cat or dog healthy.
7. Resolve to spend your pet’s budgeted dollars wisely. When visiting the veterinarian, make a list of questions to keep your appointment on track to get all your questions answered. Evaluate the feasibility of pet insurance with coverage for routine healthcare. ___________________________________________
For nearly a century, The Animal Medical Center has been a national leader in animal health care, known for its expertise, innovation and success in providing routine, specialty and emergency medical care for companion animals. Thanks in part to the enduring generosity of donors, The AMC is also known for its outstanding teaching, research and compassionate community funds. Please help us to continue these efforts. Send your contribution to: The Animal Medical Center, 510 East 62nd Street, New York, NY 10065. For more information, visit www.amcny.org. To make an appointment, please call 212.838.7053.