How to Make Sure You’re Starting Your Pet’s Year Off Right

There’s no better time to reassess your pet’s overall health and well-being than the start of a new year. We’ve put together a list of our top pet parenting tips for 2023 to make sure you start your pet’s year off right.

Schedule their annual vet appointment

Pets are notoriously good at hiding signs of illness, so it’s not uncommon for pet parents to be unaware that something is wrong until it gets serious. That’s why our top tip for pet parents for 2023 is to schedule an annual vet appointment at the start of each year.

During these annual appointments, your veterinarian:

  • Perform a physical examination
  • Update all vaccinations
  • Perform annual blood tests or other tests

Completing them every year will give your vet a good understanding of your pet’s baseline health, making it easier for them to see when something is changing. After the age of seven, your veterinarian will likely recommend that you come to these appointments every six months so that you can monitor changes more closely as your pet enters old age.

Refresh your pet’s diet

If one of your parents’ goals for 2023 is to improve your pet’s diet, consider switching to fresh foods. The food your pet eats plays a huge role in their health and there is no better option than freshness. That’s because unlike kibble, which uses powdered meat, artificial colors, and preservatives, fresh pet foods — like Freshpet — use ingredients that are much closer to their natural state. By switching to Freshpet, your pet will benefit from recipes that are:

  • Made with 100% naturally farmed protein, fiber-rich garden vegetables and antioxidant-rich fruits.
  • Gently steamed at lower temperatures to retain nutrients
  • Suitable for life stage, size and special dietary requirements

For a complete overview of the different Freshpet recipes, see our dog and cat product page.

Encourage them to drink more water

Water is crucial to your pet’s overall health, helping to keep their body functioning normally. More specifically, water plays a role in:

  • Regulate your body temperature
  • Digestion
  • Nutrient Absorption
  • Expel waste and toxins

Unfortunately, ensuring your pet gets enough water can be an ongoing battle, especially for cat parents. The good news is that we know a number of tricks you can try to pique your pet’s interest in drinking water, including:

  • Add a touch of flavor: If your pet isn’t interested in plain water, liquids such as carrot juice and sodium-free chicken broth or fruit chunks are quick—and pet-safe—ways to add extra water. touch of flavor.
  • Use a water fountain: Cats, in particular, prefer to drink running water, so swapping their bowl for a free-flowing water fountain is enough to convince them to increase their water intake.
  • Offer it as ice cream: Offering frozen treats is another fun way to encourage them to “drink”, especially during the summer. Products like this puppy maker make it easy to prepare frozen treats at home so you always have them on hand.

For more reasons why you should monitor your pet’s water intake, check out this blog written by our Freshpet veterinarian, Dr. Aziza.

blue eyed dod laying in glass and looking up smiling at camera

Reevaluate their exercise routine

Dogs benefit greatly from a regular exercise routine. Dogs that are given the opportunity to exercise daily benefit from:

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Stronger muscles and bones
  • Stress reduction
  • Less destructive behaviors

We know that finding the time to establish an exercise program for your pet can seem daunting, especially for pet parents with busy schedules. That’s why it’s a great idea to find a way for them to participate in activities you already do, like running, hiking, or even long-distance walks.

But physical activity isn’t the only form of exercise your pet should get – keeping their mind active is just as important! Keeping your pet’s mind occupied can help reduce feelings of boredom, stress, and anxiety, all of which can lead to destructive behaviors.

  • Use puzzle loaders: Puzzle feeders keep pets mentally and physically engaged as they figure out how to get to their food. They come in several different formats, such as bricks, balls, and snuff mats, so you can see what your pet likes best.
  • Find toys they can play with independently: Toys that occupy their mind are especially useful when your pet has to spend time alone. Similar to puzzle feeders, toys from brands such as Kong and Doc and Phoebe allow you to hide treats inside and your pet will have to figure out how to get them.

Improve their oral health

Over 80% of pets have some stage of dental disease which, if left untreated, can contribute to mouth pain, bad breath and even unintended weight loss. So if you really want to make sure you start your pet’s year off right, look for ways to improve their oral health.

  • Get the necessary supplies: There are many types of toothbrushes, including those with multiple bristle heads, angled brushes, and even those that fit on your fingertips. Choose the one you are most comfortable with. For toothpaste, look for products made specifically for pets, as they’re made with pet-safe ingredients and come in tasty flavors like beef and poultry.
  • Stick to a brushing schedule: In a perfect world, your pet’s teeth would be brushed twice a day. However, we know it’s a tough ask, so even twice a week is a good start! If this is your first time brushing your pet’s teeth, check out our guide to brushing your pet’s teeth at home
  • Schedule dental exams: Just because your dog’s teeth look normal doesn’t mean they’re necessarily healthy – even if the visible part of the tooth is healthy, that doesn’t mean the same can be said for the roots. Your veterinarian will be able to perform dental x-rays to get a complete picture of your pet’s oral health.

We hope our list of top pet parenting tips for 2023 helps you make sure you start your pet’s year off right!

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