Improving Your Pet’s Health in 2017

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The year is moving fast and, like it or not, 2017 will be upon us very soon. Pets bring so much joy to our lives so it’s important we take their general wellbeing seriously. If you’re a pet owner, you’re in the unique position to improve your furry companion’s health with a few simple steps!

Maybe your pet’s a little overweight and you keep meaning to do something about it. Why not use the new year as your excuse to get going. These tips are fairly straightforward, but they will take a little day to day effort to ensure you stay on top of them. I promise it will be worth it, though.

1. DIET

Yes, diet is always number one on the pet health list. Just like human health, obesity is a huge problem for our domestic animals. Most people greatly enjoy feeding their dogs and cats. It is hard to admit but watching a pet ravenously eat their meal brings joy to a pet lover’s heart. But wait…what about healthy choices?

There are healthy options out there and pet owners should always read nutrition labels. It is estimated that over 65% of pets are overweight and obesity is becoming a big problem. In fact, it can cause complications such as heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis to name just a few. Overfeeding fattening pet food is a poor health choice. Switching over to a lower calorie option could be a good starting point for 2017, though you should do this gradually. The process should take around 7 days, as you increase the amount of new food and decrease the old, little by little. The overall serving size should stay the same though!

2. CHANGE UP THE TREATS

Be very careful with overfeeding with those pet treats. It’s very easy to go overboard and dogs especially are very enthusiastic about them. Mine knows exactly where the treats are kept and no amount of refusals will put him off begging for more.

Dogs and cats of all breeds and sizes require a specific daily calorie intake. Just a couple of treats can throw that off as they’re full of grease. If you’re really keen to reward your pet, why not consider some healthy alternatives. Carrots are a great option for dogs – they’re low in calories, packed with vitamin A and help clean their teeth too. Chopping them into small chunks and feeding just a couple at a time is the best course of action.

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Cats are specifically meat eaters. However, if you are looking for a healthy alternative treat, you could try a small chunk of banana. They provide potassium and fiber and some cat owners even freeze small amounts for an extra special treat.

3. PREVENTIVE MEDICINE

In today’s world there are some fabulous and effective preventive medicines on the market that all come veterinarian-recommended. So many health problems can be sidestepped with a simple, safe monthly dose of Heartworm, Intestinal Parasite, or Flea and Tick medications. Most of the truly effective ones require a veterinary prescription. So, in addition to this tip, be sure to visit your vet every 6 months (at least) to stay on top of medications and for a general health check. As I have seen throughout my career, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!”

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4. EXERCISE

Most dogs spend a lot of time indoors while their owners are at work. Even when you’re home, your dog probably has a little too much couch time and not enough exercise. But, like Bruce Springsteen, dogs were born to run and their bodies have amazing agility. They absolutely love running, jumping and playing fetch. You may even be surprised how enjoyable it is to watch them do these things, simply because they’re having so much fun.

Leash walks are the norm these days, with busy pet owners spending many an hour in the office, without much time to spare once they arrive home. These are fine, but taking your canine to the local dog park (even once a fortnight) can be great for their overall health, plus they get to socialize too. These parks are popping up all over the place – you probably have one right on your doorstep!

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Another great addition to home is getting a doggie door, allowing your pooch easy access to the  backyard whenever they like. It’s essential for those squirrel sightings when they need to move fast.

5. GET ACTIV4PETS

Sure it’s shameless self-promotion, but Activ4Pets provides an affordable way to track pet health on the go. Need access to veterinary records in a flash? We’ve got you covered. Need to to set medication reminders for flea and tick treatment? We can do that too. Want to track their weight? Simple! Activ4Pets is loaded with useful features to help you be a better pet parent. Membership starts at just $24 per year and you can sign up by clicking here.

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Meet the Author

Clayton-Jones-DVM

Dr. Clayton Jones

Dr. Jones has 25 years of veterinary medical experience as a staff veterinarian and medical director of his own practice. As well as being the Chief Veterinary Medical Officer for Activ4Pets, Dr. Jones is also a member of the American Veterinary Medical Society and President of the US-Cuba Veterinary Cooperation Society.

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