You’ve probably heard that pets are good for your health – they boost your mood, increase your physical activity, improve your cardiovascular health, and ease loneliness, among other benefits. If you’re a pet owner, you have a responsibility to keep your furry friend healthy and thriving as well! Here, we discuss five things you can do to ensure your pet stays in tip-top shape.
1. Provide proper nutrition.
The saying, “You are what you eat,” applies to pets just as it does to people. Take the time to research the ingredients in your pet’s food to make sure they’re eating a balanced diet – just like humans, cats and dogs need protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and water to thrive. You should also be mindful of the amount of treats you’re shelling out each day; by keeping your pet at a healthy weight, you’ll be actively working to prevent obesity-related illnesses, all while extending their lifespan.
2. Get plenty of exercise.
Regular walks, hikes, or a game of fetch can keep your dog in great physical condition, while cats can be exercised with toys and lasers. No matter what physical activity you choose, just make sure your pet is moving every day. This time is also an ideal opportunity to monitor your pet’s metabolic health. Pay close attention to any changes in breathing patterns, and if you’re concerned, call your veterinarian to schedule a checkup.
3. Schedule an annual wellness exam.
Speaking of checkups, your pet should be seeing your veterinarian at least once a year for a wellness exam. These exams allow your vet to perform health screenings that could potentially lead to the early detection of a disease or serious illness. Your veterinarian will also let you know if your pet is due for any vaccinations, which help protect them from a number of highly preventable diseases such as rabies, parvovirus, and panleukopenia.
4. Be proactive with prevention.
“Fleas” is a dreaded word to pet owners everywhere; fortunately, there are many safe, effective preventative measures to keep your furry friend safe from these tiny little insects. You can also find products to prevent other parasites, such as ticks, heartworms, and intestinal parasites. Many of these products are sold over-the-counter, but you can also speak with your veterinarian to see what they recommend specifically for your pet.
5. Spay or neuter.
Not only does spaying or neutering your pet help to control animal populations, it’s also good for your pet’s health! Medical benefits include preventing certain cancers or diseases and even extending your pet’s life expectancy. There are behavioral benefits to spaying and neutering, too; for example, neutered males tend to be less aggressive, and neutering will also decrease your dog’s roaming instinct.