Healthy Paws: New Years Resolutions — Pet Edition

Editor’s Note: Healthy Paws is a column sponsored and written by the owners of Clarendon Animal Care, a full-service, general practice veterinary clinic and winner of a 2017 Arlington Chamber of Commerce Best Business Award. The clinic is located 3000 10th Street N., Suite B. and can be reached at 703-997-9776.

It’s January and the time for new year resolutions. While you may have a few on your own list, have you thought about resolutions for your pet? Here we have a few ideas that you could aim to work into your 2019 routine, if you aren’t already doing so:

Tooth Brushing

Whether you have a cat or dog, setting a goal to brush their teeth on a regular basis will certainly pay off in 2019. How regular? The Veterinary Oral Health Council recommends daily brushing to disrupt the cycle of plaque mineralizing to hard tartar.

At minimum, brushing every other day is needed to make an impact in reducing tartar accumulation. New habits can be a bit scary for pets, so aim for only a few seconds of brushing at a time, then slowly work up to the whole mouth.

Focus on the outside of the teeth, that’s where all the tartar builds up, 60 seconds to clean should be enough to get the whole mouth.

Home Nail Trims

Keeping your cat or dog’s nails short can have many benefits. It can reduce damage in your home from scratching behavior, prevent in-grown or torn nails and save yourself the cost of grooming appointments.

New to trimming your pet’s nails or found them difficult in the past? There are several great online resources for how to slowly train your pet to enjoy nail trims via positive reinforcement training. Here are some nail trimming resources:


You might be trying to hit the gym more often in 2019, but have you thought about your pet’s exercise too? Regular activity is important for your pet’s overall wellness.

Benefits include weight management, maintaining muscle mass, decreased stress and anxiety and cardiovascular health. Aim for 30 minutes of exercise a day — walking, running, swimming, training or play — but more is good too!

Training and Enrichment

Is 2019 the year you master a new hobby? Well, similar to how new activities make your life more exciting, they do the same for our pets.

Try starting with the basics — sit, stay, come, and leash manners — then progress to more advanced tricks. Positive reinforcement and consistency is key. Clicker training can also be a great tool for pet learning.

You would be amazed how much progress you can make with 5 minutes a day, plus you get the added bonus of creating a stronger bond with your pet. Don’t forget about your kitties either, they can learn tricks just like dogs.

Additional Resources:

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