It’s no secret that Americans love their pets. According to the Humane Society of the United States, 39 percent of households own at least one dog 33 percent own at least one cat, and many own multiples and/or other types. And then there are the people and families with working dogs and companion animals who give their human a better shot at a full life. Furry family members bring joy and excitement to a household, relieve stress and actually help people live healthier and longer. Providing the best care possible for your pets helps ensure pets have a long, healthy life… and cuts down on the vet bills.
Unfortunately, with so much information available, it’s easy to become confused about what is really best for them. Dr. Ashley Gallagher, veterinarian at Friendship Hospital For Animals, petMD, Dr. Karen Becker and JOMP shed some light on some of the most common pet myths.
Cats’ curious nature and quick reaction times are likely the basis of the nine lives reputation, but in reality owners need to remember that both cats and dogs only have one life. That is why it’s important to schedule regular veterinary visits to ensure your pet has a long, healthy and happy one. If at all possible, going to the veterinarian shouldn't only be reserved for times when your pet is sick. Your pet needs annual wellness check-ups, vaccines, dental exams and nutritional consultations, just like humans do.
Myth 2: (All) Table scraps are OK.
Did you know that one ounce of cheddar cheese for a 20-pound dog is like a human eating more than one and a half chocolate bars? That same piece of cheese for a 10-pound cat is like eating almost three full chocolate bars! Table scraps are basically empty calories for cats and dogs, unless they are meat, fish or veggies (that they can and should eat). And definitely make sure that the table scraps and little sneaks never include any of the No-No foods.
Pets need balanced nutrition for their specific life stage and special needs to remain healthy. A good food like Hill’s Science Diet or Royal Canin is great as a staple because it gives them nutrients that they might be missing and it is always good for emergencies if your pets well-rounded eaters. But the best regular diet is either a raw-food diet (not right for all pets) or home-cooked balanced meals for your pets. And make sure that your dogs are getting some bones in their diet.
Remember… in the wild they would be eating raw foods and up until a couple decades ago, when some big companies realized they could make money from making and selling commercial pet food, regardless of their nutritional value… commercial pet food, like commercial baby food and formula and convenience foods for humans, was born… none of which are best choice for animals, babies or humans. There are also some great natural supplements, like StemPet and StemEquine around for pets.
Dogs wag their tail for many reasons; the most common is that they are either happy or nervous. Cats will also wag or flick their tail when they are upset or thinking. Pets communicate via complex body language rather than vocal expression like humans. Learning to read what your pet is telling you will go a long way in helping to build a fulfilling relationship. Ask your veterinarian for advice if you feel stuck learning your pet’s body language cues.
Myth 4: Letting my dog out in the yard is enough exercise.
Dogs and cats both need plenty of physical activity and mental stimulation to stay healthy. If you just leave your dog out in the yard alone they might not get much of either. It’s important to take them for walks, play fetch or simply run around together. Not only will it make for a happier, healthier dog, but it will also help to strengthen your relationship. Cats should be kept indoors for their safety, but there are plenty of toys that work their brains and their bodies at the same time. Some people even take their cats for a walk on a leash. Visit your local pet store to find some toys that fit the bill.
Each pet is unique, so ongoing care, including precisely balanced nutrition, regular wellness visits to the vet and daily play periods are all good things that keep your pet healthy and living well for many years to come.
h/t to the Press Enterprise – Lifestyles page