Even the best behaved-dog can temporarily forget his manners when faced with the many distractions of going on a walk. When the ground is covered with snow and ice, Fido’s momentary lapse can mean a nasty fall for you. Properly equipping yourself – and taking some safety precautions – can help ensure you stay on your feet, and that your walk remains enjoyable for both you and your best friend.

Many studies have linked pet ownership with better physical and mental health. Pets have been shown to help lower blood pressure and decrease bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels in people, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Pets have also been shown to give their owners a greater sense of well-being and bring more fun to the families who own them. Considering all that your pet does for you, shouldn’t you do something in return for him or her?

Jack Frost is nipping at your pet’s nose. Winter is here again, and cold weather can be uncomfortable and dangerous to your pet.

As you schedule flu shots for yourself and your children, you may want to consider doing the same for the canine members of the family. If you haven’t heard of the canine influenza virus (CIV), or the dog flu, you are probably not alone – the disease was first identified in 2004. While humans typically line up for vaccinations in the fall to protect them during the colder months, dogs can get the disease at any time.

Do you hate your pet’s breath? Well, did you know that bad dog or cat breath is a sign of dental disease? About 80 percent of humans brush our teeth at least twice a day, according to the American Dental Association. But most of us completely neglect our pets’ teeth. There is no time like the present to start maintaining the dental health of your four-legged friend to help prevent problems like gingivitis, periodontal disease, infections and tooth loss.

Most of us resolve to make a new start for ourselves every year, perhaps promising to eat healthier, get fit or improve relationships. While it’s always good to find new ways to be a better you, this year think about making it a joint effort with those in your household who don’t make resolutions – your pets.

The birds are back … and unfortunately so are the squirrels. Serious birders and casual bird lovers alike know that when the squirrels move in there’s not often much left for the birds. It is possible, however, to provide for your feathered friends and keep squirrels out of the feeder.