How to Create and Maintain a Healthy Environment and Lifestyle for your Pet
While many people realize the emotional and physical health benefits that having a pet can do for us - improved mood, decrease in blood pressure and cholesterol, among others - many of us don’t stop to think about making sure that our pets are just as much in need of those benefits for their own health and wellbeing. A healthier, happier pet allows for longevity of life, which presents us with the added benefit of them sticking around longer.
There are multiple factors that go into the care of our pets. Creating a healthier environment and lifestyle for our pets ensures that we meet their physical and emotional needs. Disruptions in a routine that are abrupt or quick can result in anxious pets, so taking time for adjustments is crucial.
Some needs are basic, like nourishment and regular checkups, but there are plenty that you may not realize are just as important as others. Areas like nutrition and exercise in which our pets help them be well cared for and necessary to create and maintain a healthy environment and lifestyle.
Maintaining Regular Check-Ups
Ensuring your pet gets an annual wellness exam by a veterinarian allows early detection of possible health issues or problems. Initial pet checkups will provide your pet with vaccines against deadly diseases, but you should keep up the annual visits to ensure that your pet is free of any other possible issues. You can also ask a veterinarian any questions you might have regarding your pet’s health or behavior if you have any concerns.
You can even include dental checkups to keep your dog from acquiring a lot of plaque and tartar on their teeth - this helps them lose teeth as they get older. Monitor your dog’s behavior in between checkups as often as you are able. Identifying warning signs of any serious illness or injury will ensure your pet is and will continue to stay healthy.
Creating a Safe Space
Having a designated area within your home for your pet to sleep and play may not seem important, but it does provide your pet with a sense of comfort and familiar surroundings. Some things to keep in mind when creating a space:
- Keep the area dry, clean, and quiet
- Keep familiar things in the space like their dog bed, towel, or toys
- Make sure the size and temperature of the place they will be is appropriate (not too hot/cold, enough space to move around)
- A people-free zone, where the pet can rest and relax without disturbance.
You would be surprised how having a space for a dog that people continually walk through on any given day or where children play can wreak havoc on your pet’s health. Suppose you decide to crate train your dog. In that case, it is vital to have a crate that is big enough according to minimum space requirements under the animal welfare act, and how having too small of a space for movements can affect your pet’s behavioral health.
Accessorize for Stress Relief
While we are always aware of our own stress indicators, we might not always be able to tell our pets when they are feeling anxious or stressed out. You want to develop an environment for them to feel a stress-free as possible so that they are comfortable and at ease within the home.
The best way that you can do this is by starting with establishing that safe space, but also acquire some stress-relieving toys and accessories that can help your pet to unwind. Some of these anxiety relievers include cat scratching posts, chew bones, or chew toys. There is even a multitude of anxiety vests or calming carriers for travel that can help your pet feel safe and sound when in transport, too.
Healthy Diet and Exercise
Pet owners are already aware that their pets need to keep a healthy diet and exercise, but they may not necessarily know what that entails. When you are feeding your dog, whether you decide to feed them commercially produced foods or homemade foods, ensure that the diet portions are appropriate for the size and age, based on your dog's ideal weight. Younger pets have different nutritional needs than older pets.
The food should be nutritionally balanced, with essential vitamins and minerals to help development and growth. What your pet eats is important in avoiding serious health concerns. You should also clean pet bowls each day to prevent germs and bacteria growth that also could cause problems.
In addition to a good diet, exercises every day that include routine walks and playtime are essential to keep your pet in shape. If your pet is on a leash, be sure that you allow the opportunity for your pet to explore, sniff around and enjoy its surroundings. For example, if you have a dog, you might consider walking the dog to the dog park and then allowing the dog to explore and play with other dogs there as part of its daily exercise.
Physical and Mental Stimulation
While exercise is one form of physical stimulation for your pet, proper pet care is another way to ensure your pet is given a healthy lifestyle. Grooming is a significant part of good pet care. It includes washing, brushing, and nail clipping.
Grooming is an integral part of ensuring that your pet’s health is maintained, and you can reduce health problems by utilizing grooming time to check for any skin issues like cuts, lesions, or rashes. It also helps your pet just feel good! Regular petting helps them to feel more relaxed and calm.
You can exercise your pet’s mental stimulation with toys and games, some of which might require your pet to work for a treat. Domesticated pets are intelligent, and they need that mental stimulation to thrive. Toys and games can create curiosity and engage them while also ensuring that they don’t become bored and start chewing or scratching clothes and furniture in the home.
When you are selecting toys and games for your pet, do some research and ensure that you are purchasing appropriate items for size and activity level. You would not want your pet to accidentally swallow small parts or break something open with harmful filling if ingested.
Training and Socialization
Training and socializing your pet are other aspects of wellbeing that need to be addressed. Training could be online or in a group class, or it might be done solely at home, which is perfectly fine. Training your pets helps build their confidence while providing you with tools to feel comfortable with your pets in new or changing situations.
Just be sure that your pet is provided socialization around other people and animals. If you have children, be sure they know how to properly treat and play with your pet, to create a comfortable environment all around.
Most pet owners don’t realize how owning a pet is such a huge responsibility. Committing to care and maintain the health and longevity of another living being is a big undertaking, but many would say that it is well worth it. Pets can be expensive, but they provide us with great companionship, loyalty, and love. Let us do our part and create the best possible lifestyle and environment for them!