5 Health Tips For Your Pet
In the spirit of National Walk Your Pet Month, there is a lot of talk on the importance of walking your pet. And while we would agree that exercise is incredibly important, here are 5 (less obvious) health tips to consider so that your canine & feline friend enjoy a long healthy life!
- Keep Up With Grooming
Just as humans require good grooming habits, so do our pets. While monthly baths are important, people often neglect the other dirty details that contribute to your pet’s overall health.
- Brushing (every couple days): Stimulates the skin and allows natural oils to circulate. It also lessens chances of matting, irritation, or hairballs. Brushing removes excess fur from the coat, reducing the amount you find on your clothes and furniture.
- Nail Trimming (2-4 weeks): Overgrown nails are more likely to snag, break, or crack which could lead to greater discomfort or injury.
- Haircuts (varies): Some breeds require regular hair clipping or shaving. This helps to avoid matting and depending on your local weather, can avoid overheating in the summer.
- Ear Cleaning (1x a week): Keeping the inside surfaces of your dog’s ears clean will not only feel good to your dog, but is good way to help prevent wax build up and ear infections (cue funky odor).
- Maintain Oral Hygiene (brushing 2x/week)
Fun fact: Dental disease is one of the most common preventable illnesses in dogs and cats! Daily tooth brushing is the most effective way to minimize: tartar, cavities, inflammation and receding gums. It can also help avoid bigger issues like periodontal and heart disease, as well as more invasive procedures (i.e. tooth extractions, ouch!) Some of the more common signs of poor dental health include loose teeth, foul breath, pain, and trouble eating. If your dog/cat is not a big fan of the brushing, try dental chews, treats, rinses and wipes. As animals enter their older years, you’ll want to avoid anesthesia as it becomes increasingly risky, so better dental health now will save you time, money, and peace of mind later on!
- Reassess My Pet’s Diet
Sure a little table scrap here and there may seem harmless but feeding your pets random bits from your plate can cause more than just an incessantly begging companion. Inconsistent diets can cause diarrhea, and the added calories could lead to weight gain. A poor quality diet can directly affect the immune system, eyes, skin, muscles, joints, and intestinal health. Feed your pet meals that you will feel good about. Do a little research on their current food and make sure there is a healthy balance of protein, fats, fiber, and vegetables. (Added bonus if you choose sustainable, organic, and certified humane.)
Stay Away From: grain fillers, artificial preservatives, additives, chemicals, and genetically modified foods. Your pets will notice the difference and so will you!
- Provide an Enriched Environment
Mental stimulation is often underestimated when thinking about the health of your dog and cat. Sure they love their daily exercise routine, but what else can you be doing to engage their mind and improve the bond you two share?
For Dogs: this can mean introducing new types of toys, teaching tricks that engage their agility and memory, or allowing opportunities for socialization.
For Most Cats: sudden changes in environment can cause anxiety, so in an effort to avoid this type of stress, aim for less dramatic changes in atmosphere. This might also include new toys, scratching posts, or simply encouraging them to mimic natural feline activities like climbing to a high spot or hunting 'prey' in the form of a cat toy.
- Start An Emergency Pet Fund
A pet emergency can happen at anytime and having that extra cushion will ensure that you never have to compromise when it comes to getting your pet the best care possible. Vets will recommend setting aside $20 per paycheck. Especially as your pets grow older, their medical needs can be quite expensive, so start saving up now!
Luckily none of these health tips are difficult to carry out. Focus on preventative care instead of only going to the vet when there's an emergency. Your dog or cat will thank you!