The Five Best Things You Can Do For Your Pet

happy pets

As a pet owner, I’ll admit — I’m definitely one of “those” pet moms. You know what I’m talking about! And come on, now…I know that some of you are just as guilty of this as I am! I treat my pets more like children and would never, ever think of them as “just dogs” or “just cats.” They’re so much more than that to me and I do all that I can to make them feel happy, loved and an important part of our family.

Part of this spoiling (if that’s even what you’d call it!) includes buying them special treats for their adopt-a-versaries, taking them out for adventures and making sure they’re included in as many family activities as possible. These things definitely make the pet ownership experience a lot more fun and exciting, but I often wonder if they really enhance my pets’ lives. I certainly would like to think that they do! And if tail wags are a measure of their contentment and happiness, then it’s safe to say that I’m definitely succeeding!

Aside from creating a fun life for your pet, there are a handful of things that you can do that go beyond a pet’s happiness, right down to their overall well-being, and can help to ensure a healthy life for them, as well.

Here are the five best things that you can do for your pet:

  1. Feed them the right food (and the right amount of food). This doesn’t mean buying the the most expensive food in the store. It means knowing your pet’s individual nutritional needs and choosing a food that meets those needs. A pet’s breed, age, size and activity level all factor into what and how much they should be eating. Consult a pet food expert or talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s nutritional requirements and food options.
  2. Help them maintain a healthy weight. Like humans, a pet’s weight is directly related to their overall level of health. A pet of normal weight is less prone to certain diseases and injuries and feeding the correct type and amount of food for your pet’s specific needs plays a big part in maintaining a healthy weight. But treating and exercise habits are important factors to consider, as well. If your pet is overweight, your veterinarian should be able to help you devise a plan to get your pet back on track to reach a healthy weight. It can be done! Really! Anyone remember the story of Obie, the severely overweight Dachshund who successfully lost almost 50 pounds?! 
  3. Keep their teeth clean. Dental health is so, so important to a pet’s overall health. Many pet owners, including myself, have tried to brush their pet’s teeth but have been unsuccessful and so, have given up. But you shouldn’t let your pet win this battle! Be persistent in your efforts, as hard as it may be to convince your pets that it really is for their own good. Talk to your veterinarian about other ways you can help maintain  or improve your pet’s oral health.
  4. Take them for heath checkups at least once a year. Keeping pets up to date on vaccines in many cases, is the law, but beyond that, yearly checkups can help to keep abreast of any issues that could adversely affect your pet’s well-being and can screen for changes from year to year that may require monitoring or treatment.
  5. Know their “normals.” Learn what a normal bowel movement looks like. How many times a day they urinate. How much water they drink in a day. How many hours they sleep. All of these things may seem insignificant, but they’re all part of your pet’s normal routine and changes to this routine could indicate an underlying health problem. Since pets cannot speak and are very good at hiding sickness and pain, sometimes the only sign that something is wrong is a slight change to their normal habits. The sooner you recognize the problem, the better chance of correcting it.

So, if you do these five things, are you guaranteeing that your dog will live to 15? Or your cat to 20? I wish I could tell you with definite certainty, “YES!” but unfortunately, that’s just not the way the world works. None of us can predict the future and we can never know how long our pets will live. We can only keep them as healthy as is within our control and by making sure that you’re following the five above guidelines, you’ll be off to a great start in doing just that!

About Jena Mazzio

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