10 Tips to a Healthier Pet

by - Wednesday, June 13, 2018

We all love our fur babies big or small, cat or dog, rabbit or guinea pig! There's nothing like coming home after a long day and watching your pet light up as you walk through the door! Some of us would even choose a night-in with our pet over hanging out with friends (if it's not you, we all have that friend). As much as we want to shower our animals with all the belly rubs, treats and playtime in the world, the best kind of love is proper pet care! With that, here are ten tips that will help your four legged friend live their best life!

P.S. Enjoy the cute pics of the fur children of Marleylilly! 😍

1. Maintain a balanced, nutritious diet
Not to state the obvious here, but maintaining a balanced diet is everything! A nutritious body is a happy body! Strengthen your pet's health by keeping away the chocolate, caffeine, dairy, nuts, and most "people" foods. It is also important to keep them hydrated! Pets, especially cats, are just as susceptible to dehydration. A trick for avoiding this is mixing up your pet's diet from dry food to wet food every so often. Another tip is to always keep water in their bowl so it's available to them!

2. Engage with other animals and people
Social skills are so beneficial for your pet! Taking your dog to the dog park, inviting other pets over for a play date, or having your friends over for movie night is sure to strengthen your pet's social skills, confidence, and state of mind. It will make them aware of others around them while also training them on how to interact with other people and animals. Realizing the importance of not isolating your pet will make them mentally and emotionally stronger. They will better be able to function in public and in return, you will have a cooperative, confident, and comfortable pet that you can take in more public spaces!

3. The Reward System
When your pet does something good, reward them! This can be with a yummy treat, but it can also be with a big belly rub or a simple verbal praise. Rewarding them when they do something applaudable is how you can communicate what's good and bad behavior.

4. Schedule annual vet visits
Pets need yearly check-ups, too! Your vet may be able to notice things about your animal that you don't know to look for! Your pet goes through changes as they get older, so check in with your vet at least once a year to keep them healthy and strong and give you peace of mind!

5. Watch portion sizes
It is so easy to overfill your pet's food bowl, reward them with too many treats, and over feed them our food scraps. Animals and pets are susceptible to obesity just like humans and are at risk for heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. According to Stephanie Eng from Youngevity, 57% of dogs and cats in the United States are obese. Always pay attention to the recommended serving portions on the back of the pet food packages or consulate your vet for what they suggest. While treating your pet with a sweet treat is fun, remember moderation is key!

6. Stay squeaky clean
Because animals carry bacteria, lick/chew everything, shed their fur, and go from inside to outside, it is vital for both you and your pet to stay clean. Disinfecting their bowls will keep their food and water fresh (also try spraying a light coat of Pam Cooking Spray on the bottom of their food bowl to prevent any leftover moist food bits from sticking), spraying down the littler box and cage will get rid of any bacteria, moping the floor, and vacuuming the carpet weekly will make your house smell fresh and kill off those evil potential fleas. Oh, and don't forget to bathe your pets! Using a gentle shampoo, routinely clean your animals!

7. Keep mentally strong
Train, train, and train! Playing games with your pet and training them to do tricks keeps their mind working and keeps their thinking cap on. The stronger their mind, the stronger they are to solve problems and communicate with you when they need food, need to go potty, or if they don't feel good. The mental strength also increases their chance of having a healthier and longer life!

Throw your pup some extra love with this monogrammed dog bandana, pictured on Rooney above. 

8. Exercise With Them
We all the know importance of keeping our pets active, however, exercising with them is just as important. Engaging with your pet by playing fetch, swimming, or tug of war, is a great way to bond with them, keeps them interested in being your pal, and gets all of their energy out that has been bundled up all day. It will also help motivate you to get moving when you're tempted to cozy-up on the couch with chocolate and Netflix.

9. Prioritize them
Owning a pet means that you are taking on the responsibility of taking care of their needs. This may look like feeding them first thing in the morning before work, running to the store at the last minute because you ran out of pet food, and coming home to take them out on a walk before you head out to dinner with your friends. Your pet depends on you, so make sure that you prioritize them!

10. Love them
And last but not least, love your animal. Give them hugs, give them kisses, cuddle with them, rub their tummies, offer them words of encouragement... They need your love and attention just as much as you do! Showing them that you love them strengthens your relationship and makes their world all the more happy and joyful!

Proper pet care extends way beyond these ten tips, but it's always good to learn new tips and tricks! Caring for my cats, being patient with them, taking care of our living space, and loving on both of them is my daily goal in order to keep them healthy and happy! Be the person your pet thinks you are because home is where the 🐾 is

What are your tips for having a healthier pet? Share your tips with others in the comments below!

- Ely, caretaker of cats, Jazz and Snow

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