New beginnings

Nurturing

TAKE STOCK The start of a new year is a great time to look at things our pet’s diet and exercise, the amount of time we spend with them, and their medical needs.

The vets view
Conal Finnerty

Firstly, may I wish all Mayo News readers a happy and most importantly safe 2022.
Now I don’t know about you, but I hate new years resolutions, always have. They serve little purpose apart from making me feel awful about myself, when they inevitably get broken not long into January, and when I try to get back on the resolutions wagon, I more often than not can’t make it to February before they are long forgotten.
Having said this, I do try to make small positive changes each year, which I do find I can stick to more easily. As the Chinese proverb says, ‘A journey of a thousand miles, begins with the first step’.
With that in mind, in terms of our beloved animals, perhaps this time of year is a good time to take stock and review our interactions and behaviours when it comes to our pets, be they big or small.
A number of people reading this, may well be new pet owners who have decided to dive into pet ownership over Christmas. This can be an exciting and wonderful time, embracing all that pet ownership entails.
For those of us who have owned pets for a number of years now, this might be a good time to look at things like diet and exercise for our pet, the amount of time we give to them or indeed their medical history and looking perhaps at getting annual vaccinations and worming etc up to speed.
Diet and exercise are very important, both for ourselves and our pets. Perhaps our charge has piled on a few extra pounds last year, perhaps more than a few. Now is a good time to look at the daily calorie intake. You could maybe even seek a bit of advice on how to cut back on the volume of food our pet consumes daily or look at introducing a lower calorific food, which can provide the volume your pet craves but has lower calorific value per volume.
Every year, it is so on trend to don the lycra and latest trendy runners this time of year. This is but human nature. But maybe bringing your pet for at extra bit of exercise or perhaps just making a start on exercising them is a good resolution for you and your pet.
Certainly, taking stock of where your pet is with their annual vaccination, worming and so on is a great idea. Maybe have a chat with your vet to check if these tasks have lapsed, to see how you can go about rectifying the situation for your pet to protect them a little bit better going into 2022.
For our older pets, perhaps ones who are heading into the autumn of their lives, looking at things like bedding (providing dry, warm, soft bedding), supplements for conditions like osteoarthritis, and adopting a positive attitude in terms of dealing with those ailments which many pets develop as they age is a good thing to think about this time of year.
As I said at the outset, forget about New years resolutions, they are only there to make you feel bad. Rather, take stock and do the little things that can and will make a difference for you and your pet. That journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step.

Veterinarian Conal Finnerty MRCVS practises at the Skeldale Vet Clinic in Ballinrobe and Belmullet. Follow the clinic on Facebook, or call 094 9541980 or 087 9185350 to make an appointment.