written by John Green, Pet Health Hospital
Owning a pet takes a lot of work yet it’s a truly gratifying responsibility. We all want them to live a happy, healthy, long life but it takes our conscious effort, time, and resources. So you need to be a wise pet-parent. Researching and learning expert tips will help ensure your pet-parenting journey won’t be a disaster. Hence, we’ve pulled together the most important things every pet owner needs to know so you and your beloved pet will stay happy and healthy.
The Influence of Obesity on Pet Health
While obesity is very common in dogs, it should not be normalized. Even though dogs undeniably look cute when they’re fat or chubby, obesity can lead to serious or fatal consequences. It compromises your pet’s health, though it’s also one of the most preventable diseases.
But what exactly is obesity? It happens when there’s an aggregation of excess body fat. However, an overweight dog isn’t necessarily obese. To know if a dog is overweight or obese, veterinarians use body weight as a guide. If your dog weighs around 10-20% above its ideal body weight, then your pet is considered to be overweight. But if your pet weighs above 20% of their ideal body weight, then they are considered to be obese. The risks with obesity primarily revolve around shortening your pet’s life and making them more susceptible to chronic diseases. Studies reveal that even a moderately overweight dog can have a shortened life expectancy by around 6 months to 2 years.
Fat tissues are biologically active, it doesn’t just add to body mass. It emits inflammatory hormones and creates oxidative stress too. Thus obesity can lead to an increased risk for many types of cancer, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, osteoarthritis, bladder stones, and many more.
Meanwhile, indeed, pet owners often overfeed their pets but obesity isn’t all caused by overeating. In some cases, obesity can be an indicator of Hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease. Remember also that obesity isn’t simply treated by reducing your dog’s meal portion as these may cause malnutrition in the long run.
To monitor and know if your pet’s weight is healthy—it’s best to consult your vet. They can recommend action plans to help your pet lose or gain weight.
The Importance of Physical Therapy
Physical therapy or canine rehabilitation is the treatment of an illness or an injury to help decrease pain and restore function. A canine rehabilitation specialist treats acute/chronic injuries and diseases that have been affecting your pet for a long time. It strives to return the dog to normal function—decrease pain, restore muscle strength, facilitate tissue healing, or prevent further injury. Canine rehabilitation normally has three categories of treatment which are: manual therapy, therapeutic modalities, and therapeutic exercise. Rehabilitation in dogs is crucial especially for dogs that have undergone orthopedic surgery.
Daily Nutritional Portions
While many pet owners know that feeding their pets a well-balanced diet is vital to overall health, not everyone knows what exactly they should feed their dog.
Dogs, just like humans, are omnivores—hence they can eat a combination of meat and plants. A pure all-meat or all-vegan diet is an unbalanced diet and will not meet all their nutritional requirements. A well-balanced diet for dogs should include a moderate amount of minerals, vitamins, essential amino acids, and fatty acids.
Dogs also have different nutritional needs throughout their life stages. Feeding the same formulated diet for all their life stages is not appropriate. To be sure, it’s best to ask your vet.
Grooming your pet is another necessary thing every pet owner must do. For a long-haired pet, it’s important to regularly brush their coat to remove tangles or knots that may become painful. Doing so will also help you see whether they have fleas or ticks, scabs, cuts or foxtails. Moreover, you should not forget to brush your pet’s teeth to avoid bacteria buildup that may cause periodontal disease. If your pet has external or internal parasites like ticks, mites, fleas, or heartworm it’s best to address it promptly. Not only that it causes discomfort but it can cause serious skin problems too. If your pet has heartworms, it can be fatal. Keep your pet free from parasites by consulting your veterinarian.
Additionally, you should regularly clean your pet’s food bowls, toys, and grooming tools. Your pet’s bedding and your upholstered furniture also deserve a thorough clean as these are magnets for collecting dirt, fur, and grime.
Frequency to Take Your Pet to Veterinary
Having your pet see the vet regularly as well as having regular wellness exams will keep your pet on tiptop shape. A veterinarian can detect if something is off with your pet. They can easily treat or resolve issues, especially in its early stages. If you have a puppy, then you should visit the vet every 3 to 4 weeks as it will need to get shots for rabies, distemper-parvo, and others. If your dog is an adult, a yearly check-up will do. However, if you see something strange with your dog, don’t hesitate to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.