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The Guide to Keeping Your Pet Happy and Healthy

Happy healthy puppy smiling

A pet often becomes a part of the family, and people grow to love these furry companions. Keeping pets healthy is beneficial for many reasons. Healthy pets often live longer, and they have a better quality of life. Pets can be healthier and happier when they eat a nutritious diet, exercise, and visit the veterinarian regularly. Pay attention to specific health issues for your pet, including dental health and diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. For some pet owners, pet insurance provides peace of mind in case of a major illness.

Healthy Diet

Dogs and cats have specific nutritional needs. These animals need a combination of protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals to stay healthy. Makers of dog and cat food usually strive to create a complete food that includes a balance of nutrients. However, different animals have specific needs. Certain dog breeds often have unique nutritional requirements, for instance, and animals of different ages might need different diets, too. Consequently, not every type of dog or cat food will meet every dog or cat's nutritional needs.

A dog's age, size, and energy output will determine the best diet to feed it. An inactive dog will need less food than a working or outside dog. Senior dogs need food with highly digestible protein to help them maintain their muscle mass, but food with less caloric density can help older dogs avoid gaining too much weight. Cats need to eat a meat-based diet to ensure that they get enough taurine to keep the heart and eyes healthy. Feeding pets crunchy dry food is beneficial because chewing dry food helps keep their teeth and gums healthier. It's important to monitor pets' food consumption to ensure that they don't overeat and gain weight.


Veterinarian Visits

Pets need to visit the veterinarian regularly. Veterinarians help prevent diseases by administering vaccinations, and they also treat illnesses when they occur. Dogs and cats under age 10 should see the veterinarian once per year. Once a pet reaches the age of 10, increase veterinarian visits to twice per year. Anytime you notice unusual symptoms, such as diminished appetite or energy or unexplained weight loss, take your pet to the veterinarian for an examination.


Fur, Skin, and Claws

A dog or cat's fur and skin can be an excellent indicator of their health. For example, if you suddenly notice thinning fur, excessive shedding, or bald areas, this could indicate a food allergy, fleas or another parasite, or another type of illness. Dandruff might be a symptom of dry skin due to low humidity in a home, or it could indicate that a pet is not getting enough fatty acids in their diet. The fur should look lustrous and feel thick to the touch. If you notice changes in your pet's fur, consult your veterinarian.

Teeth and Gums

Just like people, dogs and cats are at risk of periodontal disease if they do not receive proper dental care. Plaque and tartar can build up on teeth over time if you do not remove it with brushing. The bacteria associated with tartar and plaque can spread throughout the body, causing illness in organs. Have your pet's teeth examined regularly by a veterinarian, and brush your pet's teeth at least several times per week to remove plaque. Serving crunchy food is also beneficial for dental health.


Pets need regular exercise as well. Strive to give your dog between 30 and 60 minutes of aerobic exercise each day to maintain health and avoid weight problems. Walking a dog is beneficial, but playing fetch and other active games with a dog is also helpful. Cats can get exercise by playing with active toys indoors or by playing on a gym-type structure. You can also encourage your cat to get active indoors by playing with a laser light or hiding treats around the house to encourage hunting.


by: Nick Braun




Common Pet Health Problems


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