For 2013, here are 10 resolutions to consider as a pet owner

By Deb Young

1. Keep identification on your pet. A collar, current rabies tag and personalized identification with a good phone number will get your lost pet back to you. Get your pet microchipped by your veterinarian, as it is the perfect back-up to tags. Have photos of your pet, just in case.

2. Keep your pet safely contained at home. Fences not only make “good neighbors” but keep your pets safe from cars, guns, getting lost and so much more. Keep cats indoors if at all possible.

3. Take your pet to the vet at least once per year to keep vaccinations current, get heartworm prevention renewed and have your pet get a general check-up.

4. Spay and neuter your pet. There are so many health benefits for both female and male pets in addition to helping reduce the overpopulation that results in far too many homeless pets.

5. Feed your dog the best quality food you can and don’t overdo the treats. Tubby pets can develop many health problems and shorten their lives. Treats do not equal love.

6. Take care of your pet’s coat, teeth and nails. Dirty or matted coats cannot effectively protect your pet from the elements, may hide health problems, and are uncomfortable for your pet. Long nails can be painful and can eventually disable your pet. Bad breath may be because of tooth decay or gum disease and should be checked out by your veterinarian.

7. Keep your yard and litter box clean. Cats have less litter box problems when boxes are cleaned regularly to remove waste, and picking up feces in the yard frequently can help reduce smell, flies and parasites.

8. Pet-proof your home and property. Keep poisons of all kinds out of pet reach, watch out for poisonous plants indoors and outside, keep electrical cords out of reach, don’t leave out strings or ribbons for a cat to swallow, and make sure there is no antifreeze leaking from older vehicles.

9. Learn about your pet and its breed traits so you can better understand what motivates your pet. Do homework on a breed or pet before bringing a new one home.

10. Spend time interacting with your pet. Our pets are social animals that thrive on human attention. Teach your pet manners so it is pleasant for others to be around. Our pets love us unconditionally; love them back with all your heart and take care of them the best you can!

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