Four Paws Veterinary Hospital

4320 Southport Supply RD
Southport, NC 28461


5 Ways to Improve Your Pet’s Health in the New Year

petting a cat

We all want the best for our pets and with the new year beginning, it’s a great time to write down health goals for your pet. Here are a few ideas to consider to help improve your pet’s health this year!


One of the biggest pet health concerns is obesity, which can contribute to many other diseases including Type 2 Diabetes, kidney disease, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, and heart disease. In the new year, help ensure your pet maintains a healthy weight by determining your pet’s daily calorie intake goal. Or, if your pet is already carrying a little extra, create a weight loss plan with your family veterinarian. Often, pet weight gain is due to calories from treats, so consider scaling back. Options include training treats which are much smaller, breaking large treats in half, or using a small portion of your pet’s daily kibble instead. 

hamster on wheel 


It’s important for your pet to get up and move – whether that means a walk outside or indoor activities like obstacle courses, running stairs, chasing a toy, or engaging in play with you. 

 In addition to physical exercise, your pet needs mental stimulation! For dogs and cats, puzzle toys are a great choice. A variety of pets can also enjoy food scavenger hunts or developing a new trick or skill. New toys, switching around enclosure items, playing videos that will peak your pet’s interest (such as bird videos for cats), and similar concepts are all great ways to provide stimulation! Check out this list of boredom busters for dogs here 

 Note: If your pet is recovering from surgery or has any physical limitations, follow your veterinarian’s instructions and guidelines for activities.  


Two of the most common emergencies we see in our ER are also two of the most preventable: pet toxins and the ingestion of something inedible, otherwise known as a foreign body ingestion. To help decrease your pet’s risk of consuming a toxic item or foreign body,  pet-proof your home! This means keeping toxic items like chocolatexylitol gum, grapesmedications, toxic plantsantifreeze, and rodenticides out of your pet’s reach or out of your home altogether, as well as securing all trash cans! It also means cleaning and organizing your house to minimize your pet’s access to common foreign body culprits like yarn, socks, hair binders, kid toys, and similar items.  

puppy with bubbles


Grooming, nail trimmings, daily dental care, cleaning up after them, and maintaining habitats/enclosures all play a role in your pet’s overall health – as well as yours! It’s also good to get in the habit of regularly deep cleaning or replacing items that get a lot of daily use, such as litter boxes, water and food dishes, bedding, toys, and similar items. 


No matter the pet, it’s important to have a relationship with a local primary care veterinarian by visiting every 6-12 months, depending on the type of pet and its healthcare needs. In addition to providing regular wellness exams, vaccinations, and thorough dental cleanings and dental x-rays, your family veterinarian will also become familiar with your pet’s behavior so they know exactly what you mean when you say, “Sparky just isn’t himself these past few days.” Your family veterinarian is a fount of knowledge – especially important if your pet has health concerns, ongoing pain, or a chronic disease. Your family veterinarian will also be able to refer you to trusted veterinary hospitals and specialists in the area if your pet ever requires emergency care or specialty services.