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With the New Year on the horizon, people all across the country will soon be renewing their commitments — including providing their pets with the best possible quality of life. During the holiday season, pet care sometimes gets put on the back burner. The New Year is ideal for pet parents to renew their commitments to their pets' health, safety, and happiness. Here's how pet parents can make 2022 the best year ever for themselves and their pets.
Because fully blown parasite infestations are difficult to get under control, pet parents should use flea and tick preventatives and heartworm preventatives year round. It's a common misconception that parasites aren't active during winter — but fleas and ticks survive year-round in homes and in protected outdoor environments. Mosquitos, which transmit heartworms, are active year-round in many parts of the country. Although they typically die down in areas of the country with cold winter temperatures, all it takes is a couple of days around 57 degrees Fahrenheit for mosquito larvae to hatch.
Microchipping is the best way to maximize the chances of lost pets being safely returned to their pet parents and is recommended by veterinarians. Microchipping is an in-office procedure that takes no longer than the average injection and doesn't require the animal to be anesthetized. Those who already have microchipped their pets should check to ensure that the information on the chip is up-to-date. It's important that telephone numbers, in particular, are current on microchips — pet parents may not be reunited with their pets otherwise. Without current contact information in the database, whoever finds the pet won't have any way of reaching the pet parent.
Some pet parents opt to perform all grooming procedures themselves, while others prefer to take them to a professional groomer. However, even those who go the professional route usually need to do some grooming tasks between visits. Long-haired breeds, for instance, require daily brushing to keep their coats tangle-free.
Brushing also helps remove loose pet hairs, minimizing shedding on carpets, furniture, and other household surfaces, and provides the opportunity to check the pet's skin for unusual bumps, lumps, lesions, and other abnormalities. Additionally, regular brushing promotes good blood circulation and encourages the sebaceous glands to produce oil, which is important during the winter when dry, cold conditions cause dry skin.
Pets also need to have their teeth tended to regularly — teeth should be brushed daily or at least three times per week using toothpaste specifically formulated for dogs or cats. Dogs and cats are vulnerable to the same dental conditions and diseases humans suffer from, including tooth decay, gingivitis, and periodontal disease. Nails may need to be clipped between professional grooming sessions as well. For cats, scratching posts may help keep nails from growing too long.
Cold weather means spending more time indoors, and pet parents sometimes struggle to keep their dogs and cats engaged and active. Puzzles, games, and interactive toys are all good rainy day activity choices. Dogs are social and need to play to maintain good mental and physical health. Items designed to reinforce the animal's natural instincts are best. Because most dogs are food-motivated, food puzzles are an excellent option for keeping them mentally engaged and occupied.
Educational toys for dogs are available for young puppies to senior dogs. Teaching a young pup to play old-school fetch introduces them to educational play, while treasure hunts keep older, more experienced dogs from getting bored on rainy afternoons.
Cats are hardwired to be hunters at heart, so look for cat toys that activate their instinct to stalk and capture edible prey, such as treat-dispensing toy mice that can be hidden around the home. Cat trees and perches work well with their natural instincts to climb, jump, and be elevated.
Fuzzy members can access real-time advice from certified veterinary professionals by tapping on the button at the bottom of the screen to initiate a chat. Any and all questions are welcome. Even minor issues are frequently the first sign of emerging health issues that may become serious if not addressed. Fuzzy vets are available 24 hours a day, each day of the week.