Do you need to make-over your pet’s health? Understanding their habits is the first step in determining which resolutions will work best for your furry friend. Not all dogs or cats have the same needs. They’re all individual creatures, and you need to take that into account.
Tips to ensure your pets are happy and healthy in 2018:
BE ACTIVE EVERY DAY
Cabin fever is a real thing, and far too many dogs live with it. Lack of activity is the root of many doggie behavior problems, and exercise often is the best medicine. A tired dog is a good dog. Walking with your dog is great, but off-leash time is important because it lets your dog be a dog. They need time interacting with other dogs, so if your dog is an only child, visit the dog park often or set up puppy playdates.
Just because you’re a week-end warrior doesn’t mean that’s ideal for your dog. Being sedentary all week, and saving the fun for the week-end, increases your dog’s chances of getting injured. If you’re heading out for a 5-mile hike with Fido on Saturday, getting your dog out during the week is important. Just like people, pets need daily activity to stay in shape.
REEVALUATE THEIR DIET
The first three or four ingredients in your dog’s food should be meat or meat by-products, so read labels carefully. Because dogs have evolved to omnivores, it is OK to include some vegetables and fruits in Fido’s diet too. If you’re feeding kibbles, choose grain-free brands.
Some real food ideas for Fido: raw chicken breast, beef trimmings, meaty beef bones, liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, sardines, bone broth, and coconut oil.
As far as snacks go, limit the “extras.” Offering a kernel or two of your dog’s regular kibble and a pat on the head is treat enough. Really.
Cats are true carnivores and need a diet that’s 80 to 90% meat. Cats love variety in their food, so switch around their flavors, but go easy on fish which can upset a cat’s digestive system.
How you feed cats is important, too. In nature, cats are hunters, not grazers. Vets doesn’t advocate leaving out a bowl of kibble for kitties to nosh anytime. Instead, feed your cat at designated times, but play with her first (to mimic the “hunt”) before serving food (as the “kill”). Mealtime play also ensures she gets her exercise.
SPRUCE UP THE HOUSE
It’s your duty to make the house as pet-friendly as it can be. Provide toys that appeal to all the senses, and rotate them to prevent boredom. That’s especially important for indoor cats. Yes, cant should live indoors since the life span of an outdoor cat is, on average, about four years. For an indoor cat, it’s 14 years. Keep your cat entertained with a bird feeder hung outside the window, within view of a high-rise cat condo with ample space to climb, hide, and relax.