It is time to provide your animal companions with the same healthy lifestyle that you and your family live by.
These days, there are two things that are true in our modern life:
1. Pets are family members
2. Pets are getting weird human diseases
We love our pets almost as much or sometimes even more than we love our human kids. We are smitten with brazen cats and dog makeovers. And our hearts break as our animals take on the most insidious human diseases. The bad news regarding dog/cat cancer, kidney disease, diabetes and other diseases is relentless. Obesity is the new normal and putting our pets on medication is on the rise.
I hope I am speaking to the choir here, and that this is just a friendly reminder. But if I am not, it is time to provide your animal companions with the same healthy lifestyle that you and your family live by. We will start with the basics:
- Exercise. Of course, this is the beginning of any health regime, including and especially for our animal companions. If we think about their lifestyle in the wild, it would include running, jumping, hunting, crouching, being on alert and all sorts of things in order to get a meal. This activity is built into their digestive enzymes. Without this, their gut isn’t activated in the way they were built to digest. Exercise is necessary for their normal digestion, and once they’ve eaten, they roam, play and sleep.
- Buffet style. Pet owners leave food out for their animals as a matter of convenience or to assuage their guilt for being gone all day. But at no time is there a buffet in the wild. Now a coyote may look at a farm and say, “Wow, a lot of chickens here, note to self,” and come back regularly, but it is not every day. Unless they are feeding a family, animals don’t hunt by the clock; they hunt when they are hungry. So, get a little more back to nature and don’t free feed. Whenever possible, make them play or work for their food. Even my cats get a play session before dinner.
- Clean water. The same clean water you are drinking is also necessary for your beloved animal companion. As animals age, they may not absorb water by just drinking alone, so it is important to give them what I call waters sticks–green beans, carrots, asparagus, etc.
- Ingredients. Just like with human food, label reading is and should be the new normal for pet food. What are the first five ingredients found in your animal’s “food”? Is it actually food? Many commercial pet foods contain preservatives, some as old as BHT and BHA – both known carcinogens and ethoxoquin, which is great for your car tires, but not for your dog or cat. Melamine, a nitrogen-rich chemical with fire retardant qualities, may have been deliberately added to an ingredient in pet food years ago to fake higher protein levels. By reading labels and fully understanding what ingredients are found in your pet’s food can ensure them a longer and healthier life.
- Healthy treats. It is imperative to really watch ingredients when it comes to pet treats. Like pet food, this is another place where companies may be accidentally sneaking preservatives (or lots of sugars) into our animal’s system. We have to be mindful of insulin resistance for older animals as well as maintaining a healthy weight. This will help eliminate stress on their organs and joints.
Our animal companions provide us with so much love and it is important that we do our part to help preserve their health by providing them with the best food and nutrition routine to give them the extra TLC they deserve.