As you draw up a list of your New Year's resolutions, keep your pets in mind, says Lorraine Corriveau, a wellness veterinarian at Purdue University's School of Veterinary Medicine.
Here's her top 10 list of New Year's resolution for pets:
1. Spay or neuter your pets, adding more years to their lives and improving their behavior.
2. Provide them age-appropriate health care so that you develop a good idea about their health and build a relationship with your veterinarian.
3. Give them a diet suited to their age and medical condition. Pets kept at their ideal body weight live longer. Look for foods designed for different stages of life and medical conditions.
4. Give them medicines regularly to prevent heartworm and fleas.
5. Groom them at home, especially the minor grooming procedures, because it causes less stress.
6. Exercise and play with them more often, each day if possible.
7. Ask your veterinarian or seek expert advice on behavior problems. A basic training class might be useful, especially for a new puppy.
8. Socialize pets with other animals and people by enrolling them in a dog park, an agility/training class or socialization classes.
9. Donate time, effort or resources to a local animal welfare group.
10. If your pet is especially social, patient and people-oriented, consider certifying it as a therapy animal. Studies have confirmed that pets increase a person's life span, help speed recovery in case of young and old patients, and are a great moral booster to people in various psychiatric and medical programs.