Life can be pretty busy; between work, school, family obligations, community involvement and all the other activities that pile up on a to-do list, it can be easy to let our attention to our pets’ wellness fall by the wayside. October is National Pet Wellness Month, a nationwide educational campaign backed by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and dedicated to reminding us how important our pets’ health really is. In these last few days of October, find some time to assess your own pets’ health and happiness, as well as how you can make some changes to improve the overall quality of their lives.
Your pet’s wellness starts with good health, and just as we try to make healthy choices in our everyday lives, we must also make good choices in regards to our furry companions. Proper healthcare, good diet choices and the right amount of exercise and play can make all the difference in the wellness of our pets.
Annual Exam and Vaccinations
Imagine going years without seeing a physician. Hard to picture, right? Our pets age at a much faster rate than we do, and each passing year of our own lives equals several for Rover and Fluffy. It’s important to select the right vet and mark your calendar for yearly examinations to make sure that your pet is as healthy as can be. Proper vaccinations can protect your pet from common pet ailments, and keeping an eye on your pet’s internal wellbeing, through taking blood and fecal samples annually, assures your pet is living exactly as he should. Senior pets should visit the vet twice a year to make sure their bodies are in top shape, paying special attention to their dental health and blood test results. Remember: our pets are not able to tell us when something isn’t right, so trust the opinion of a veterinary professional to guide decisions involving your buddy’s health.
Spay and Neuter
Spaying and neutering your pet isn’t a new idea, but did you know that only 10% of animals brought to shelters have been spayed or neutered? It’s critical to protect your pet and prevent even one more pet from ending up in an animal shelter. And not only does this inexpensive medical procedure prevent unwanted pet pregnancies, it also has health benefits for your pet, including significantly reducing the kinds of cancer to which he is susceptible and reducing aggressive behavior and the desire to roam. And if nothing else, consider the cost; spaying or neutering is less than the cost of raising a litter of puppies or kittens.
Thoughtful Diet Choices
Proper diet and nutrition is at the very heart of health for people, and the same rings true for our beloved pets. Spot doesn’t have an opinion on the food placed in his dog bowl, and he’s trusting you to make the right choice when it comes to quality ingredients and nutritional value. Have you ever read the ingredients list on your pet’s food? It can be pretty scary, considering the amount of food produced with artificial ingredients, fillers and questionable by-products. Would you want to eat that? Certainly not! Look for quality ingredients that focus on health benefits, such as:
- Live Active Probiotics
- Omega 3 & 6 Mix
- Essential Vitamins & Minerals
- Fruit & Veggie Antioxidants
Your buddy is depending on you to make the right choice, so stock your pantry with pet food that is not only delicious but healthful.
Exercise and Play
A sedentary lifestyle in humans has been proven to cause obesity, diabetes, many types of cancers and a whole slew of other illnesses that can be avoided with adding physical activity to daily life. The same is true for your pets, so it’s crucial that they are receiving adequate playtime and proper exercise. Set aside time each afternoon or evening, and even make this a time to exercise together. Go for a walk around the neighborhood or a jog at the park, or if the weather is nice, take your buddy for a swim at the beach or lake. Throw a ball, play tug-of-war, or even play a game of hide-and-seek with your canine companion.
The cooler fall temperatures help prevent heat exhaustion during outside play, but as the temperatures continue to drop, be creative with indoor exercise. You may have to throw a tennis ball down a hallway about five hundred times, but at least you know your buddy is getting the exercise he needs.
Don’t discount your pet’s happiness in his complete wellness profile. Just as depression and anxiety in humans can cause a string of physical ailments, so can these conditions in our pets. To be a true pet parent and responsible caregiver for your pet, you must consider his emotional health as well. Set aside time each and every day to spend with your pet. Play a game of fetch, let your pup ride with you to run errands, cuddle up on the couch for a movie or make time on a Saturday for some grooming TLC. Your dog notices when he’s being ignored, and spending too much time away from home every day isn’t fair to your pet. Most pets like to be around their people, and when their whole world is wrapped up in you, you have to be there for them. Put it on the calendar if you have to, but mark off some time for your pets.
Your pets depend on you to make good decisions involving their wellness, and that includes paying attention to their health and their happiness.