A Vet’s Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

Make this year happier and healthier for you and your pup
By Shea Cox DVM, CVPP, CHPV, December 2011, Updated June 2021

Veterinarians love putting together a plan of care for their patients—so why should New Year’s be an exception? Here are my suggestions for ten (I think fairly reasonable) resolutions that can make a big improvement for your dogs and you. For those who’ve already embraced many of these good habits, this list can serve as a chance to pat yourself on the back.

  1. Take your dog for more walks and exercise—after all, it is good for both of you!
  2. Take your dog for a yearly physical examination.
  3. Put your pet on a weight-reduction program, especially if he or she has enjoyed the holiday season as much as I have! (See: Weight Management Made Simple).
  4. Make sure your pet’s microchip information is current and registered, and that he or she wears other forms of identification at all times.
  5. Brush your my dog’s coat and teeth regularly. If more help is needed with teeth or your dog is middle-aged or older, maybe schedule a cleaning.
  6. Practice effective flea and heartworm control all year long to keep your pet safe from preventable disease.
  7. Start training again or resolve to take him or her to a class. Even if your pet isn’t unruly, training keeps you both sharp and engaged.
  8. Reassess your home, making sure the environment is safe for pets. Cover electrical cords, remove potential toxins (such as Gorilla Glue) and plants, and know the location and telephone number of your closest emergency hospital.
  9. Buckle up your dog in the car. Unrestrained pets are dangerous to both to you and your dog. Use a pet harness, doggy-designed car seat or travel crate to keep them safe.
  10. Take the time daily to appreciate your pups; they do so much for you and ask little in return.

A few habits to encourage your dog to consider

  • Find your soul mate on Petfinder.com.
  • Work on not drooling when you hear the can opener—it’s a dead giveaway and gross.
  • Take time from your busy schedule of naps, snacks and adventures to stop and smell some behinds.
  • Work on understanding that cats are from Venus and dogs are from Mars—but peace can be found on Earth.
  • Be grateful for the toys that are currently in your bin.
  • Strive to only get into mischief during normal business hours, not during nights and weekends when your normal veterinarian is away.
  • Resist chasing that stick unless you see it leave the hand!!

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? What new behaviors are on your list?

Photo: iStock

Dr. Shea Cox is the founder of BluePearl Pet Hospice and is a global leader in animal hospice and palliative care. With a focus on technology, innovation and education, her efforts are changing the end-of-life landscape in veterinary medicine.