The New Year is here, and many of us are already setting and working through our resolutions. But why not set some goals for our pets, as well? In 2018, let’s take some time to shift focus from ourselves, and consider the needs of our furry friends. Our beloved pets enrich our lives in more ways than we can measure, so let’s look at how we can enhance their lives, too.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53% of adult dogs and 55% of cats in the U.S. are obese or overweight.
An overweight pet is at significantly higher risk for health-related problems, and many experts estimate this lifestyle may reduce the lifespan of your pet by two years or more. Health problems associated with pet obesity include everything from cancer, to heart problems, to joint and mobility difficulties.
There is no secret to maintaining proper body weight. Simply feed your pet the correct amount of food to complement their lifestyle, and stay consistent with regular exercise. If your pet is overweight, take longer walks, and cut back slightly on the amount of food they’re given each day.
Proper dental hygiene is very important and should never be overlooked. Most pet owners don’t consistently take effective dental health measures, which is why an estimated 80 percent of dogs and cats in North America have poor dental health.
Periodontal disease – a common health problem in today’s pets – produces toxins that are absorbed into an animal’s blood stream. This may lead to organ damage as the liver, kidneys, and brain continuously filter your pet’s blood. This can lead to an increase in oral infection, leading to more pain and discomfort. Once treated, most pets make a positive recovery and their quality of life improves dramatically.
Brushing your pet’s teeth with a pet-specific toothbrush and toothpaste are among the most effective ways to keep your pet’s teeth clean and healthy. There are many other options available, too, including chews, dental powders, and water-soluble supplements. Whether you choose to brush your pet’s teeth the old-fashioned way, or use one of the many dental control supplements on the market, stay consistent with your dental health program.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” ~Hippocrates
There are few things that can make such a positive lifestyle impact as a complete, healthy, and well-balanced diet. In an industry saturated with pet food options, finding the right one for your pet can be overwhelming!
To simplify things, begin by focusing on North American-made (and sourced!) pet foods made exclusively from grain-free, human-grade ingredients, with meat free of hormones and antibiotics. The pet marketplace has several 'super-premium' pet foods that provide nutrition superior to almost anything else on the market. Popular high-quality Canadian brands include Acana, Orijen, and Carna4.
Feeding your pet a healthy, biologically appropriate diet offers many lifestyle benefits, including improved skin and coat health, less shedding, better digestion, increased energy levels, and of course, a longer, healthier life.
An Enriching Environment
Pets become products of their environment, which is why it is imperative to regularly provide your pets with interaction and activities that contribute to an enriching, positive lifestyle.
Dogs, cats and many other pets are social animals (to different degrees), meaning they need time to safely play, interact, and bond with those around them.
Take long walks. Explore new trails. Roll around on the floor. Spend more time snuggling. Offer a new toy or treat. Go to a leash-free area and make new friends.
Whatever you do to enrich your pet’s environment, make sure it’s fun, positive, motivating, and safe!
Whether it’s to lose weight, eat healthier, or spend less on the credit card, New Year’s resolutions are always made in an effort to achieve a positive outcome. This year, take a look at your beloved pet’s lifestyle, and consider making positive changes for them, too. Whatever your goals are for 2018, make the effort, stay motivated, and here’s to great things this year!
Brandon Forder – also known as The Pet Expert - is Vice President of Canadian Pet Connection, a family owned and operated business located in Meaford, Ontario. He has over twenty years experience specializing in pet nutrition, behaviour, and lifestyle. Canadian Pet Connection is an industry leader committed to providing their clients with the highest levels of personal, attentive service. Learn more at www.CanadianPetConnection.com.