Tips to keep your pet happy and healthy
Our pets give us unconditional love. In return, our job is to stay healthy and happy.
Food is a medicine for pets, just like for people, says Sarah Reidenbach, DVM, a Northern California veterinarian and CEO of the nonprofit organization Ruthless Kindness. If your dog or cat’s diet lacks some vitamins and minerals, it can be said that a lack of nutrition can be noticed in hair loss, skin infections or sluggishness.
With so many pet food options – wet, dry, refrigerated, home-cooked, grain-free – how do you know which one is best for your furry friend? “It’s absolutely overwhelming,” Reidenbach admits. “Really, what works for your pet is your guiding principle.”
It recommends checking the package to ensure that the brand meets the standards of the American Association of Feed Control Officers (AAFCO), which ensures that the food has a balanced diet.
Keep to the recommended portion size, and don’t give those sad puppy eyes when your pet asks for candy. Obese dogs and cats can have chronic diseases in overweight humans, including diabetes and arthritis.
Exercise is essential for your pet’s physical health and mental stimulation. But unlike humans, there are no guidelines for how much activity they need. Reidenbach says different races have different conditions. When you play together you can detect your pet’s activity level. “Some races and personalities certainly need more stimulation than walking,” he added.
If you have a high-energy dog, try the agility course or take your dog on a walk, skate or swim with you. For more bonding experience, do a downhill dog walk with your real dog, either directly or in an online yoga class. Make sure your dog has enough behavior to be close to him throughout the class.
Cats aren’t the best walking friends, but you can still avoid them being too sedentary by getting into the game every day. “Most cats like toys that are reminiscent of prey – things like hanging feathers or little cloth mice,” Reidenbach suggests.