As every pet parent knows, spending your life with a furry companion is incredibly rewarding and the health of your pet will always be the top priority. Today, our Baton Rouge vets share some ways to create a healthy environment and lifestyle for your companion.
How to Keep Your Pet Happy & Healthy
Sharing our lives with a furry friend can come with a variety of benefits to us such as companionship and health benefits like decreased loneliness and lower blood pressure, but what are some things we can do to ensure that our pets live a long and healthy life? Our Baton Rouge vets share some advice on how to ensure a happy and healthy life for your pet.
Provide your pet with a relaxing area
Just like humans, your pet also requires a nice comfortable area to relax once they become overstimulated and need a break. This quiet area can provide your pet with some much-needed relief from the noise and hustle and bustle of the home as well as from children and other pets. Most pets appreciate a space of their own, away from the hustle and bustle of busy children and/or other pets.
Cats in particular enjoy having a place to hide. Cat towers and cardboard boxes lined with a blanket are a favorite of cats to relax in. Cats love to tuck away and relax in peace and so it is important to have a place where they can run to.
Creating a special spot for your dog will largely depend upon the size of your pet. Some dogs may enjoy the solitude of a bed tucked into the corner of a small room such as a laundry room, while others like to relax in their own crate. Your dog is sure to provide you with clues on rooms they particularly like to relax in and what their favorite piece of furniture is.
Offer your pet a nutritional diet
It is incredibly important to provide your pet with a well-balanced and nutritional diet in order to keep them happy. To establish and maintain great health, your dog or cat will need a diet that provides all the right nutrients based on their age, breed, and stature. Each meal should also be measured so that your pet receives just the right number of calories to support a healthy lifestyle.
Deciding what to feed your pet, as well as how much and how often can be overwhelming. No one understands your four-legged friend's nutritional requirements better than your vet. Speak to your veterinarian about the best food for your animal companion, and ask them to calculate the perfect portion size to suit your pet's needs.
Partake in daily exercise with your pet
A tired dog is a happy dog. Taking long walks with your dog every day (rain or shine) helps to promote physical fitness for both you and your pet, and helps to keep your dog's brain active. From a young age, regularly encountering new people, pets, noises and smells while safely by your side can help to give your dog a sense of contentment. Long walks together will also help to build a strong and loving bond between the two of you, and may even help to improve your fitness level too. For most breeds a good starting point is 2 thirty-minute walks a day but be sure to check with your vet to find out what the correct level of exercise is for your pet - and of course - check with your doctor before starting any new exercise plan.
Cats need exercise too, especially indoor cats. Take the time to play with your feline friend every day to ensure that their body and mind stay active. Chasing a pretend mouse that is moved around by you, or a laser pointer dot pointed at the floor for your cat to chase while ensuring taht you avoid their eyes, can be great fun for your kitty. If you tend to spend most of your days outside of the house then it might be a great idea to provide your cat with toys and activities to keep them
Help your pet maintain a healthy weight
Your dog or cat will feel their best if they maintain a healthy weight for their breed, age, and build. Obesity in pets leads to an increased risk of some very serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and painful joint issues. By closely following steps 2 and 3 throughout your pet's lifetime you should easily be able to keep your pet at a healthy weight. Not sure if your pet is at a healthy weight? Speak to your vet, or breeder, to find out how much your pet should weigh, and how to help your dog or cat achieve their ideal weight.
Prioritize dental care
Your pet's oral health strongly affects their overall health. If your dog or cat has gum disease or decayed or broken teeth they will likely be feeling a great deal of discomfort, but these conditions could also negatively impact their overall health resulting in conditions such as heart disease. Help your animal companion to maintain good oral health by taking them for regular dental cleanings and exams. Routine dental care can help to prevent more severe conditions that could be costly to treat.
Ensure toxins are out of reach
There are many different foods and substances that may be perfectly fine for humans but can cause detrimental effects in pets. A few common foods, medications and household items that are poisonous to dogs are; chocolate, raisins, any foods or drinks containing the artificial sweetener xylitol, NSAIDs including Ibuprofen and Naproxen, fabric softener sheets, some essential oils, bleach and toilet cleaning pucks. It's important to note that there are many many more foods, and household items that can be toxic for your dog. Be sure to pet-proof your home every time you put away your groceries in order to avoid tragic accidents.
Although cats are typically less likely to eat things they shouldn't there are some foods you should keep well out of your cat's reach including chocolate, raisins, onions, garlic and alcohol. Do not feed your cat dog food and never ever give your cat human medications without consulting your veterinarian. It is also important to note that many common household and garden plants are toxic to cats. Although older cats tend to be wise enough to avoid plants that could make them ill, kittens may be attracted to fluttering leaves and stems. Be sure to do your research before adding a new plant to your home or garden.
Protect your pet with vaccinations
Maintaining up-to-date vaccinations for your pet, and administering appropriate parasite prevention medications when needed, can help to protect your dog or cat against a range of highly contagious and serious conditions that can negatively impact your animal's long-term health and longevity. Your pet's vaccination and parasite prevention requirements will be based on their lifestyle. Your vets will know which vaccines and parasite medications are right for your pet based on their lifestyle and unique needs.
It's important to note that in many states it is mandatory for all dogs and cats over 6 months of age to have up-to-date rabies vaccines. Keep in mind that all pets need to be vaccinated in order to protect them from various preventable diseases. Speak to your vet for details on which vaccines and parasite prevention products are right for your feline homebody.
Make sure that you bring your pet in for routine care
Your vet is dedicated to keeping your pet healthy. By bringing your dog or cat in for physical checkups (wellness exams) your vet is able to take care of those essential vaccines, provide advice on nutrition, monitor your pet's weight, and watch for any developing health concerns.
Most healthy middle-aged pets should be seen about once a year, but if your animal has an underlying health problem, is very young or elderly, your vet may recommend checkups every 6 months or more. Spotting the earliest signs of developing conditions allows for treatment to begin when it is most effective, these checkups also allow your vet to provide elderly pets with proactive treatments that can help your pet feel more comfortable as they continue to age.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.