If your pet could change anything, what would it choose? A constant supply of mice to chase? All you-can-eat bacon and bones buffets? By considering pet health and well-being, you’ll ensure you all end up happy by this time next year.
Start your pet on the right paw with a comprehensive check-up at your vet’s. A regular examination provides a valuable benchmark for your pet’s health and can help prevent a host of ills. Dogs should be checked twice a year, especially in the spring to banish fleas, while cats can get by on just one annual visit. Pets over seven years old need more attention and should be seen by a vet two to three times a year.
Nutrition for life
Many of us determine each January to cut out the junk food and load up on nutritious foods. Pledge the same to your pets, they can’t fix themselves a sandwich when the urge strikes, so they depend on you to provide a properly balanced diet. Purchase prepared foods from reputable manufacturers that provide necessary nutrients, vitamins, and minerals.
Portion meals per your vet’s advice, never supplement the menu with table scraps, and always be sure to have plenty of fresh water available.
Exercise for mental and physical wellness
Regular exercise is as necessary to pets as it is to their owners, reducing an animal’s stress and destructive behaviour, controlling weight gain, and improving muscle tone. Lucky for them, exercise comes in forms more fun than the treadmill; simply play with your cats and dogs according to their instinctual tendencies.
Cats, being natural predators, will respond more enthusiastically to games that require them to hunt and pounce. Hiding catnip-filled toys throughout the house will undoubtedly inspire your kitty to track them down. For dogs like retrievers, there is nothing like a good game of fetch, while herding a ball works for shepherds.
Having your dog play with you, wherever you are, be it country fields, suburban back gardens or city dog runs, will help him burn off some energy.
Grooming for pet health
The benefits of grooming go far beyond a well-coifed furry face; it’s an opportunity for owners to bond with their pet and become familiar with their pet’s physique, which can lead to valuable early illness detection.
After brushing and combing your pet’s coat, take time to gently stroke its entire body.
With routine inspection, you’re more likely to notice abnormal growths, inflammation or problems areas on your pet. End each session with a quick examination of your pet’s mouth, nose, ears, eyes and genital region, being watchful for any unusual odours or discharges.
Train your pet to have good manners
Hopefully, the resolution to teach proper behaviour is made when pets are still young, but if you have adopted an adult animal, begin training as it arrives home.
Always be consistent with your voice commands and hand gestures, and never hit your dog or cat. Although a swat on the rump might seem to correct the behaviour, it instils fear and distrust in your animal. Instead, work according to your animal’s unique characteristics and personality, customising your training to each pet in your household. Dogs and cats, for example, require distinct training principles.
Dogs will consider you the leader of the pack, but cats will view you as a member of the colony. If you’re unsure how to best guide your pet’s education, consult your veterinarian, a dog trainer or animal behaviourist.
Health and safety go hand-in-hand. Keep your pet safe: update its registration and identification with your current address and telephone number; keep it on a leash or well fenced-in at all times when outside; pay attention to exposed wires, chemicals and open windows in your home. Put together an animal first aid kit, including gauze cotton balls, distilled water, tweezers, anti-bacterial cream and hydrogen peroxide, and employ professional pet sitters and kennels when you leave town.
If you found Proactive pet health useful, you’ll find more pet health tips and advice on our our pets channel.Tags: pet grooming, pet nutrition, Pets Last modified: September 2, 2021