6 Ways to Keep Your Pet Healthy
October is Pet Wellness Month, but your pet’s health is important all year long. Here are six tips to help keep your pet feeling their best throughout each season.
Tip 1: Keep your pet on a well-balanced diet
What does a well-balanced diet for your pet mean?
Cats need a lot of animal-based protein to maintain their health. When left to their own devices, they tend to eat foods that are both high in protein and moisture, which is why a quality wet can food may be best. A 2011 study of wild cats found that wild cats prefer a diet of 52% protein and 46% fat, suggesting that domesticated cats would likely benefit from this diet, too, to keep their hair, claws, and teeth both healthy and strong.
Dogs, on the other hand, aren’t as straightforward. A variety of studies seem to conflict with one another. Some suggest raw meat diets, while others argue vegan diets are the most beneficial. Speak with your vet to determine the best diet for your particular breed of dog.
On a similar note, no matter what type of pet you have, don’t overfeed your pet. Pet owners have a tendency to give their pets treats to show their love, but, just as it can for people, overeating can lead to obesity and heart issues. Therefore, keep the treats and table scraps to a bare minimum.
Tip 2: Check for fleas and ticks on a regular basis
In addition to being an overall nuisance, both fleas and ticks carry diseases, so treat your pets on a regular basis with a high quality flea and tick treatment.
Ticks are their most active during the spring and summer months, which means you should do regular checks on your pet during these months to make sure it’s tick free. If it’s a year with a mild autumn, you’ll want to continue checking until frost is a regular occurrence. Remember: dogs can get Lyme’s disease just like people, so take your pet to the vet if you notice its behavior and activity levels change.
Like ticks, fleas also start during the spring, and can last well into the fall, too. However, if your pet is primarily an indoor pet, it’s possible you may continue to have issues throughout winter if you do not treat it on a regular basis. Regardless, if you ever have to treat your pet for fleas, you also have to treat your home. Dog beds, carpets, blankets, couches and even draperies may have to be thoroughly cleaned and treated. On that note, you may also want to consider treating your yard, too.
Tip 3: Keep your pet active
Just like people, dogs and cats need physical activity to maintain their health. Some cats may have to be encouraged to exercise — but laser points and climbing towers work wonders. If you’re comfortable letting your cat outside, make sure to give them enough time to explore before calling them back in.
Likewise, dogs need regular walks and playtime, too. If you have a sizable yard, make sure you encourage your dog to go outside and play. If your dog has the temperament for it, consider taking him or her to a dog park. Other dogs will naturally encourage your pet to exercise, and it will provide them with some needed socializing time, which studies have shown may help prevent dogs from becoming overly aggressive or withdrawn.
Tip 4: Take your pet to the vet once a year
To make sure your pet is getting everything it needs, schedule a wellness check once a year with your vet. As with people, the best cure is prevention. If your pet is sick, the sooner you can treat any illness, the better off it will be.
On a similar note, always take your pet in for a checkup if you notice any changes in its sleep, eating, or activity levels. While it may only be a minor bug, you don’t want them to be sick for any longer than necessary.
Tip 5: Get your pet’s teeth cleaned
To prevent bad breath, pain and tooth loss, take your pet in for a tooth cleaning once a year. As with so many things on this list, oral hygiene is just as important for your pet as it is for you. In fact, dental care for your pet may even help extend its life. Left untreated, bacteria from its mouth can travel to your pet’s kidneys, liver, and even heart.
Tip 6: Talk and interact with your pet every day
To maintain your pet’s mental health, make sure you regularly interact with it — especially if it’s your only pet and it’s just the two of you. Both cats and dogs can become stressed and depressed if they are isolated and ignored. If you want your pet to be healthy, make sure it knows that you value its company.
Bonus Tip: Get a pet insurance policy
Whether your pet gets hit by a car or has a sudden illness, medical expenses can add up quickly. Enrolling in a comprehensive pet insurance plan gives you financial protection to explore the best care options without breaking the bank. Protect your pet with a comprehensive pet insurance policy today.