Setting goals is not just for all of us bipeds, your pets love to get in on the action too! This is a great time of year to take a step back and figure out how to make 2015 the happiest and healthiest yet. We are counting down the top resolutions for both pets and people:

10. Measure Portion Sizes

Most people just eyeball the amount of food we feed ourselves and our pets. That’s why a recent study found reduccat steals sausage from the refrigeratoring dish sizes can help us lose weight – and the same goes for your pets! Rather than just filling their bowl every day (or several times a day), measure out the amount of food according to the feeding guide on your pet food bag. For best results, feed to your pet’s “ideal weight.” This is something that the Goldorado team loves helping out with!

9. Update Contact/Microchip Information

Over the past year, a lot has probably changed. Make sure all of your subscriptions and contact information is up to date, especially when it comes to your pet’s tags and microchip data. Registration Check out this handy database provided by the AVMA if you need to find their current registration status: www.petmicrochiplookup.org

8. Practice Good Dental Hygiene

Daily brushing is the best way to keep tartar and plaque at bay no matter what your species happens to be. Make sure and use a pet specific toothpaste though, human ones can be toxic to dogs and cats. Water additives, dental diets, and treats designed to reduce tartar can also be a helpful tool in keeping teeth clean. And even with all of these tricks, regular cleanings by a veterinarian are the best way to keep those pearly whites in top shape long into your pet’s senior years.

7. Try a New Activity Together

From dog yoga(doga!) to hiking, it’s easier than ever for people to incorporate their pet into a new exercise routine. It’s a great way to bond, it’ll get you both out of the house, and both owner and pet will reap the rewards of a healthy physical activity. There are literally limitless opportunities in Northern California for all of us to step up our play time.

6. Check The Menu

Have you ever noticed how Grandpa eats “All Bran” cereal every morning while you stick to your “Cocoa Puffs”? Animals also have very specific nutrition needs depending on their life stage. For example, some senior pets may have lower energy requirements, but have other medical issues like degenerative joint disease that may be helped with the appropriate diet. Choosing a diet specifically tailored to your pet’s life stage is a great way to keep them in optimal health.

5. Make a Date With The Doctor

Yearly examinations by your physician or veterinarian are a key component of good preventive care. Many medical conditions such as diabetes, arthritis, or obesity are common in aging humans and pets – and much easier to manage when detected in the early stages of the disease process. Veterinary visits are also the perfect time to ask for advice, update your pet’s food, or get an expert opinion on any behavioral issues that may be affecting your bonding with your pet.

4. Play More

Cats love the thrill of chasing a laser toy; just don’t tell them it’s exercise! Toys that trigger a cat’s predatory instinct are a great way to get them off the couch and engaged in a little aerobic activity. Experiment to see what really gets your cat going — in addition to lasers, catnip toys, crinkly balls, and climbable cat trees are perennial feline favorites. Adding more play time keeps everyone entertained and healthy.

3. Schedule Spa Days

Just like we enjoy a little pampering, your pet would love to see more brushing! It removes excess fur from the coat, reducing the amount you find on your clothes and furniture. It helps distribute oils from the skin to the fur, keeping the coat shiny and healthy. Lastly, daily grooming is a bonding activity that demonstrates to your pet how much you love them by taking care of them in a very soothing manner.

2. Teach An Old Dog New Tricks

Studies show that mental stimulation can help reduce cognitive deterioration in aging people and animals. In other words, keeping your senior pet’s brain active can actually make it healthier! Teaching your pet new tricks and practicing those they already know are a great way to keep those neurons firing. Puzzle feeders, which force a pet to think through a task in order to be rewarded with a treat, are also an excellent way to keep a pet’s mind engaged.

1. Prepare For The Future

Getting older is not a disease, but it does mean that new health challenges are possible. Being ready to recognize the signs of arthritis, dental disease, and other age related problems. Most of these challenges are easily managed if recognized early so follow the advice of the TSA…if you see something, say something! At Goldorado, we love our senior pets and especially love keeping them young at heart.

Happy New Year to all our friends, here’s hoping for a joyous and peaceful 2015!