The Pet Corner: Include pets in your resolutions

Published 10:06 am Thursday, January 3, 2019

2018 was officially the wettest year on record for Kentucky.

It rained so much last year many of dealt with bad road conditions, floods and other conditions caused by the excessive precipitation.

Despite the difficulty of dealing with the nuisance of pouring rain, caring for our pets remains constant. Likewise, our pets continue to shower us with affection and love us unconditionally regardless of the weather or anything else going on in the rest of the world.

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How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? Have you already conceded to the path of least resistance or have you continued to press forward despite the daily struggles?

Including your pets in your New Year’s resolutions can actually drastically improve their lives.

Mostly, people resolve to improve their lives by eating healthier and by exercising more. Those resolutions would certainly improve the lives of many pets.

I’m not one to question anyone’s lifestyle or personal choices of eating and exercise habits. I know how difficult change can be. I am guilty of being habitually routine and I typically don’t like change much.

However, change is the very premise of what New Year’s resolutions are all about.

Resolutions are about changing something in order to make life better. Therefore, change is necessary. Change is inevitable. Change is good.

The problem is change is difficult and, depending on the particular change, it can sometimes be difficult.

Often, pet owners may not realize they need to change anything about their pet’s life. That’s where I come in.

I always try to inform pet owners about the ideal situation for their pets and then let them decide how much effort they want to put into changing their pet’s lifestyle.

I will warn them of potential harm if something doesn’t change and educate them of the benefits of making changes.

The best part about New Year’s resolutions involving pets is the changes needed for the pet also provide positive changes for the owner.

If your pet needs more exercise and you provide it by walking them more often, then you have provided yourself with more exercise, too. That doesn’t usually help when it comes to healthier eating habits except from the standpoint of being conscious of what you are feeding your pet.

Study after study have shown the medical benefits, physical and mental, that spending more time with your pet causes. Just petting your dog or cat can actually lower blood pressure and reduce stress.

Research has proven people interacting with their pet on a daily basis are happier overall compared to those who do not.

Many times I have made an extra effort to spend more time with Marlo and Sapphire. However, they are usually pretty good about coming to me and letting me know if I have ignored them too long.

Marlo jumps in my lap and Sapphire nudges my hand non-stop until I pet her. If that doesn’t work right away, pawing at my leg and barking will certainly get the job done.

It is easy to let work and other family responsibilities take up your free time leaving very little time for the pets. I believe, in general, everyone is busier these days than ever before. It may not always be a good thing to stay so busy. We probably could benefit by heeding to the old saying “stop and smell the coffee.”

This year, I encourage you to listen to your veterinarian’s advice and include your pet in your New Year’s resolutions.

Take a little extra time to interact with your pets and by doing so you will improve your own well being as well as theirs.

Of course, if your pet needs any medical attention, see your veterinarian as soon as possible to ensure your pet lives a long, healthy and happy life.

Dr. Jeff Castle is a veterinarian at Clark County Veterinary Clinic.