A new year often affords a perfect opportunity to make fresh promises to oneself – about life, finances, and a brighter future. The key to keeping those well-meaning resolutions is to make them do-able.
For pet owners, here’s an easy list that can make life better in the coming year for you and your pets:
1.) I will save money on my pet’s basic health care this year. This doesn’t mean skipping needed vet visits or delaying treatment for unusual symptoms or fresh injuries. Your vet is there to help keep your pet healthy and happy. But for yearly vaccinations and routine health testing (heartworm tests for dogs, feline leukemia and feline immunodeficiency virus testing for cats) the average pet owner spent $250 per dog and $220 per cat in 2012, according to industry statistics. There’s a way to save up to 70 percent on those costs by getting your pet’s rabies and distemper shots and basic tests at one of the many low-cost pet vaccination clinics now available in almost any town. In Atlanta try PAWS Atlanta, Intown Hound and City Kitty and LifeLine Animal Project.
2.) I will take more walks with my dog this year. The Georgia Veterinary Medical Association and Georgia State Parks are ready and willing to support you on this. Their new RXercise program can get you and your dog into any of Georgia’s dozens of state parks for free. Enjoy the outdoors and put your best foot forward to better health.
3.) I will take my pet with me on vacation this year. Are you one of the many pet parents who leave your pet/s in good hands while you take time away but still call twice a day to make sure they are okay? Try taking your dog (or cat, if they are willing) on vacation with you. Many hotels and parks have adopted new, pet-friendly policies. Several chains have announced specials that include everything from oversized, plush, pet pillows to check-in gift packages for pets. Check online for vacation destinations that can include four-legged family members.
4.) I will get training for my dog this year. Basic obedience training for dogs make for a happier family all the way around. In Atlanta, give the experts at Frogs To Dogs a call if you have anything from a few questions to nagging problems with your dog’s behavior. Many issues can be fixed easier than you think.
5.) This year I will help pets that are not my own. Not all pets are as lucky as yours. Over 80,000 healthy or treatable dogs and cats in Atlanta are put down yearly for one simple reason: they are homeless. Support and donate to animal welfare organizations and pet rescues in your community. Most rescues need everything from money to used linens and they do their good work fueled by donations from people who care. If you are looking for a new pet this year, adopt from a shelter (or if you have a favorite breed, from a breed-specific rescue). In the Atlanta area, check with the SPOT Society to find a rescue organization.
6.) I will be more like my pet this year. Oftentimes we forget how valuable the simple pleasures in life can be. One of the great things about dogs and cats is they help us remember. Take a nap in the middle of the afternoon. Play with great abandon. Enjoy the outdoors. Be naughty sometimes, just for the fun of it. Make new friends easily and without judgment.
Happy New Year!