At Tail Blazers we recognize that although diet is one of the most important choices you can make for your pets, we also know that there are many other factors that contribute to a healthy and happy pet. Here are 10 of them!
1. Healthy Diet – Perhaps the most important decision you’ll make for your pets is what to feed them. It’s important to choose a diet free of species inappropriate ingredients like wheat, corn and soy. Their diet should also be free of chemicals; artificial preservatives, flavours, and colours; by-products, BHA and BHT, and more.
There are so many healthy options available now in the form of dry, canned, dehydrated, cooked, and raw foods (listed from most processed to least) the choices can be overwhelming. Variety is so important so why not mix and match your options?
Visit our website and use the ingredient dictionary to find out what’s in your pet’s food and treats.
2. Vitamin Supplementation – When accompanied with a healthy diet, a daily multi-vitamin can be beneficial to prevent disease and increase life span just like it does for people. Many foods lose nutrients through cooking, making them harder to digest and harder for the body to utilize remaining nutrients.
There are also supplements that can help with specific health concerns like arthritis and joint degeneration, skin problems, allergies, and more. These supplements can increase your pet’s comfort level and lead to a higher quality of life.
3. Active Lifestyle – Daily activity is a must for pets of all sizes and breeds. Large breed dogs require about 40 minutes of cardiovascular exercise a day, smaller breeds requiring 20-30 minutes a day.
Visiting dog parks, competitive dog sports, or a game of fetch are great ways to become active with your dog. Using interactive toys and providing climbing surfaces for cats can help indoor cats get their much-needed exercise.
Daily physical activity reduces unwanted behaviour, manages weight, reduces stress and anxiety, and combats disease.
4. Plenty of Mental Stimulation – Many working breeds such as border collies and terriers are now regularly seen inside the home as pets. When working breeds are unable to do the jobs they are bred to do, they can sometimes become stressed and destructive.
There are many problem solving and treat dispensing toys on the market now for both cats and dogs. These toys can keep your pet busy for hours, giving them some form of mental stimulation.
Ideally, if you have a working breed like a border collie, enroll them in a herding class. Tracking is a great sport for scent hounds like bloodhounds. There are a large variety of training classes that you can enroll your dog into to keep them learning!
5. Annual Check-Ups – Regular Vet visits help with early detection of tooth and gum disease. Your Vet will also do a thorough check for lumps and bumps, monitor your pet’s weight, and check your pet’s heart health.
6. Reduced Vaccinations– Up until recently, yearly vaccinations were recommended for
dogs and cats. Now most Veterinarians recommend vaccine boosters every three years.
To prevent over-vaccination, many vets are now performing annual titers instead of regular vaccines. Titers measure levels of immune deficiencies with a simple blood test and should replace yearly boosters.
If your pet does require a booster, ask if they can be separated into single shots with only the antigens required instead of combo shots (cover numerous diseases with one injection) that may be unnecessary and hard on the body.
7. Dental Health – Over 80% of our pets are suffering with some form of gum disease. Gum disease can lead to more serious problems such as heart disease and tooth mobility. Gum disease can be prevented with daily brushing, healthy diet, and safely chewing on harder, chewable items such as raw bones. Pets should always enjoy chewing under your direct supervision.
8. Regular Grooming – Professional grooming prevents painful matting; reduces skin irritations, shedding, and hairballs; reduces allergic reactions in people and the likelihood of parasites and fungi. Groomers often find injuries and lumps that were previously undetected. Grooming is an essential, and often overlooked, part of your dog and cat’s whole health plan.
9. Chemical-Free Living Environment – Scented candles, harsh chemical cleaning solutions, cigarette smoke, etc, can all be harmful to the immune system. Using earth and pet friendly products will be better for both you and your pet!
10. Stress-Free Living Environment – A home with tension between human inhabitants or inhabitants of the furry variety can lead to stress in your pet. There can often be tension between animals in a multiple pet household that we don’t even know about!
With cats you may notice a new habit of urinating or defecating outside of the litter box. With dogs you may notice excessive licking or other nervous behaviours. In homes with active children, ensure your pet has a place to go that only he is allowed to frequent like a crate set up in a low traffic area of the home.
Whole health for your pet is not dependant only on one or two of these components, but on all of them! Ensure you do the best you can to give your pet the opportunity to reach their full potential and live a long, healthy life!
The information provided in this article is not a substitute for regular veterinary care. Adoptable animals are posted as a courtesy; Tail Blazers is not affiliated with any specific shelter or rescue.
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