Autumn is in full swing and September is just about over. Did you know October is National Pet Wellness Month? As a pet parent of two cats in the past, I was blessed to have had them in my life collectively for almost 20 years. My first cat Precious unfortunately passed away suddenly at the age of 8 and suffered a heart murmur condition. However, my second cat Dusty, she lived to be almost 14 years old. Yes almost 14 human years! If it wasn’t for cancer, I know she would have lived on to be at least 20! I say this to say, our pets can live a long healthy life but what steps can you take to help them get there? Well, based on my experience and some research here are 6 factors to keep in mind for happy healthy pets.
6 Factors to Keep in Mind for Happy Healthy Pets
1) Annual Exams
Being a pet parent is a big commitment. One of the things you must prioritize is your furry family member’s health. This includes actively practicing good dental hygiene, grooming, spay or neutering your pets and getting their annual physical exam. Visiting the vet for annual exams also means being up to date with your pets’ mandatory vaccines (i.e.: rabies). Getting annual exams or (6-month checkups for senior pets) is important to maintain good health and also keep an eye on any issues or conditions that present themselves. It’s far easier to resolve a problem in its early stages versus the latter. Annual checkups at the veterinarian help provide you and your furry family member peace of mind and build a rapport with your veterinarian. To see what you can expect at the vet. Check out this short video clip.
Pet Wellness Exams–keeping pets healthy!
2) Exercise/Mental stimulation
Second, exercise and mental stimulation is important for having a healthy happy pet. Just like people, physical exercise and activity is important for pets. Obesity has become an epidemic in not only society regarding humans but also our pets. To keep your pets weight management in check, get into the routine of taking them out for a walk. If you have a pet that is only indoors, include playtime with them. If you don’t already have toys, buy some pet toys to keep their minds stimulated as well as encourage active movement. There are hundreds of new and innovative toys on the market. My cats didn’t require much investment with toys as they only required crumpled paper balls, empty cardboard boxes to jump in and out of and a window to keep their mind stimulated. Every pet is different, so be observant to figure out what may work best for them. Sometimes, to find what works requires trial and error. With exercise for wellness, diet also plays a big part.
3) Quality Diet
Having a quality diet is so important. The saying “you are what you eat” is real. As many pet parents have come to understand, the ingredients in large store brand commercial pet food is often more times than not, unhealthy and lacks in nutrients. Many contain ingredients we cannot even pronounce. Luckily in recent years there has been a flood of resistance from pet parents demanding better quality food for their furry family members. Also as a pet parent myself, I learned way too late the impact commercial dry food had on my cats health. However I can say from experience and from the advice of my own vet that wet quality cat food is far better and hydrating than dry kibble. A raw food diet similar to what our pets would eat in the wild is most ideal. I encourage you to do your own research and do what’s best for your own situation. Here is a short video clip and link to more videos to help you get started asking questions.
Pet Fooled Trailer HD
Other helpful Website/ Videos
HealthyPets- Wet food vs. Dry food? http://healthypets.mercola.com/
4) Pet Insurance
Another aspect to consider for the wellness of your pet is obtaining a pet insurance wellness plan. I wrote a blog post called Is Pet Insurance Worth It where I discuss the benefits of having pet insurance and how having a plan helped me with preventative care expenses with my two cats as well as taking care of their final expenses. This is a great resource to consider in helping give you piece of mind in the event your pet requires an expensive procedure or even just provide financial help with reimbursing expenses for wellness procedures like current vaccines and stool samples. Even if you cannot afford full coverage now, there are options to help pet parents financially with providing discount Rx cards for filling prescriptions or certain basic services.
5) Lots of love
The fifth factor to ensuring you have a happy healthy pet is the easiest to me. Giving and showing your pet lots of love. Give them plenty of belly rubs, neck massages, hugs and kisses to show them they are the light of your life. Pets always show and demonstrate their loyalty and love for us in unconditional ways. Returning the act of love and spending quality time with them is easy to do. Actually for many of us, coming home to our pets is a stress reliever from the day. Aside from plenty of hugs and cuddles you can show them love in other fun ways, which leads me to the last aspect.
6) Live in the moment and have Fun!
Life is short and tomorrow is not always guaranteed so do what pets do best; live in the moment. Have fun and enjoy time together and bond. Do you need ideas? How about taking a hike? Or a road trip? The holidays will be coming soon. How about taking a photo session with your pet? You can get a photography session just because or for a special occasion like Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas greeting cards. Do you need more ideas? Check out my blog post Bucket list ideas to try with your pets.
Summary of tips to keep your pet healthy!
General Pet Health Tips with Dr. Royal | NOW Pets
So those are my 6 factors to keep in mind for Happy Healthy Pets. I hope you find them helpful. I encourage you to also do your own research on these issues and find what works best for you and your pet. Do you have any additional tips? How do you help keep your furry family members happy and healthy? Comment and share your thoughts below.
Originally published October 2017. Updated 2019