Happy New Year! A new year brings a clean slate and the opportunity to make improvements to key areas of our lives.
For some of us, the word “resolution” makes us cringe. The definitions for the word “resolution” are:
- A resolve or determination: to make a firm resolution to do something
- The act of resolving or determining upon an action or course of action, method, procedure, etc.
- The mental state or quality of being resolved or resolute; firmness of purpose.
A resolution isn’t a bad thing. Slowly implementing a few changes each day can make a significant different in people’s lives. As Canada’s Healthy Choice for Pets, we want to help you incorporate some healthy routines into your daily activity for you and your pets.
Most people consider their pets to be family members. We want to give our children the very best of everything, don’t we? The most important thing to remember when you bring a pet into your home is that they do not grow up and “leave the nest” so you are responsible for their well-being for the duration of their life. Your pet trusts you to feed him, keep her warm, healthy and safe, and it’s critical that you spend quality time with your pet every day.
We recommend that you do the following to improve the overall health and wellbeing of your pet in 2016:
Schedule a Wellness Consultation
Schedule a Wellness Consultation with a Global Pet Foods’ Healthy Pet Care Specialist who can provide feedback and product recommendations for the following questions:
- What’s the right food to feed my pet (dog, cat, rabbit, hamster, etc.)?
- Is my dog or cat overweight?
- Is my pet shedding?
- What can I do if my pet has difficulty with climbing stairs?
- Is my pet drinking enough water?
- Is my pet getting enough exercise?
- There are changes to my pet’s water consumption, appetite, eliminations, or activity levels that concerns me. What steps should I be taking?
Our Healthy Pet Care Specialists have the expertise to answer the above noted questions. They can also recommend the best brand of food, supplement, treat, toy, or any other pet product – along with great pet care tips – so that your companion pets are healthy and happy!
Are you concerned about whether you’re providing your companion pet with the best care? Schedule a Wellness Consultation with one of our Healthy Pet Care specialists and at your appointment, they’ll do the following:
- Evaluate your pet’s diet (food and supplements) to ensure that it’s suitable for their age and activity level, and that it address their special needs, ie. weight, dental, joint, allergies, etc.
- Provide you with flea & tick prevention information.
- Create a grooming and general care plan for your pet(s).
- Provide exercise recommendations and any products needed to maintain your pet’s health.
- Answer any other concerns you have based on your pet’s individual situation.
Educate and empower yourself with this valuable pet health consultation which will help you make informed decisions about your pet’s wellness now and in the future.
NOTE: This should not replace an annual check-up with your veterinarian.
You can be a “green” pet parent by purchasing eco-friendly toys for your furry children. Buy toys made with tough and sustainable hemp, or a bed made out of organic cotton. Avoid cheap plastics or material used in low-quality products which are typically made with harsh chemicals. Chemicals inside or outside of the home should be a big no-no, especially if you want to keep your family healthy. This applies to pesticides, chemical fertilizers and ice-melting agents. Chemicals can stick to pets’ paws which can result in burns, and since they tend to lick their paws, they can become sick. Use organic means to fertilize your lawn and control pests, and look for non-toxic ice melting agents for your drive way and sidewalks during the winter season at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store. Always clean your pet’s paws and under-belly before bringing them back in the house.
Biodegradable waste bags should also be a key staple for every pet parent. We know that plastic bags are bad for our Earth. It takes oil to make them, they sit around for over 100 years, they harm fish and wildlife, they plug drainage sewers in cities, and the list goes on. Biodegradable waste bags are made from a combination of corn and other renewable products. There are no chemical additives to enhance decomposition. The bags degrade naturally when exposed to the earth’s elements and micro-organisms in the soil and usually decompose in a commercial composting environment between 60 and 90 days after use.
Commit to making one change in your buying habits that gets you one step closer to a greener household.
Variety is the “spice of life”
Nature did not intend for people or pets to consume one food for their entire lives. Feeding your pet something different helps to ensure that he does not become bored and frustrated with his food. This will not make your dog picky. We’re talking about periodic changes here, not serving up something different or adding goodies to tempt him every time he doesn’t like his dinner. And most importantly of all, variety helps to avoid the development of allergies. In a few extreme cases, people and pets may be instantly and violently allergic to something. This happens in a few extreme cases only – the vast majority of allergies build up over time and with constant exposure to an ingredient(s).
The best way to develop an allergy to something (chicken, for example) is to consume it daily for an extended period. It is no coincidence that the most common allergens are things that have commonly been used in pet foods for many years. The (modern) advice from nutritionists is that feeding a wide variety of different foods, preferably from a young age, can help your pet from developing allergies in the first place (that’s the advice given for humans too). Commit to spicing up your pet’s diet by starting with adding a can of food, which is an ideal way to ensure that they are consuming water. Buying a different protein within the food brand that your normally purchase is also ideal. NOTE: If you do plan on rotating your pet’s food, you should introduce the food gradually by mixing it the current food over a period of a week or two.
Staying warm during a cool fall season or cold winter requires extra calories and your pets may need more food or a change in their diet. They may need to transition to a food that provides additional nutrients or protein. Need some assistance? Bring in the bag of food that you’re currently feeding to Global Pet Foods for a nutritional assessment.
Water, water, everywhere!
The cold weather doesn’t mean that your pets don’t need water. Water is essential to all living beings and cats and dogs need fresh water and plenty of it. Dogs depend on proper daily fluid intake to maintain good health. Water makes up 80% of your dog’s body, and it dissolves natural and unnatural substances. Water is essential for circulation, digestion, and waste removal. Provide clean water at all times, and change it frequently to ensure freshness.
Monitor your dog’s water intake. Generally, dogs need at least one ounce of water for each pound of body weight per day. Monitoring water intake is especially important if your dog is recovering from diarrhea, vomiting or other illnesses.
Cats are very finicky about their water; they like it fresh. The longer the water sits out, the more oxygen it loses. Fall is the most common time of year for male cats to “block” where small “stones” form that block the flow of urine from the bladder through the urethra. Please schedule an appointment with your veterinarian immediately if your cat that seems to be straining “to go to the bathroom”. Decreased fluid intake may cause future episodes of cystitis.
Don’t forget to wash your pet’s water bowl every day to prevent bacteria from forming.
As the mercury drops and the nights grow longer, it negatively impact the moods and mental wellbeing for many people and pets. The natural mood elevator we receive during the long, sunny days tends to wane during the winter months. This makes it extremely important for adults, children and pets to get that endorphin-boost outdoor activity. A brisk walk will do the mind and body good for both you and your pets!
While many of us tend to avoid heading outside during the cold, snowy weather, it is important that you take your kids (if you have them!) and dogs outside for walks. As long as they’re healthy and it’s not too cold outside arctic temperatures), ensure that you aim for a minimum a 30 minute walk outdoors with your dog. Outfit him or her with reflective collars so that you can see them if they break away from you or you let them run free in a park, and put a coat and booties on them to keep them warm if it’s bitterly cold outside and their paws safe from salted walks.
A bored cat may become destructive and aggressive, and result in excessive grooming or inappropriate litter box use, ie. urinate in other areas of your home. Caring for a cat is a big responsibility as it’s difficult to keep them healthy in the same manner as dogs, who can head outside for walks every day.
Many pet parents keep their cats indoors for safety reasons (it helps to reduce death, injury and disease), which can pose other health risks for them if they’re not receiving enough physical and mental stimulation. Keep your cats healthy with the following activities:
(a) play hide-and-seek games;
(b) Place bowls of small amounts of food on different levels throughout your home so that your cat has to use their hunting instinct to find them, which also gets them moving;
(c) Play hide `n seek by strategically placing toys such as fuzzy mice, balls, etc. around your home so your cat can “discover” them all over again. Continue to move toys to unexpected places throughout your home. This helps to keep your cat’s brain active as she walks through the house looking for them;
(d) Try using a laser mouse so that your cat chases the red dot up and down walls and furniture;
(e) Your cat will love hunting down mechanical mice which also gets them running across the floor;
(f) Purchase a toy with a crinkle mouse attached to a string and suspended from wand. Dangle it up and down to get your cat jumping.
Not only is exercise beneficial to keeping your pets happy, active, and at their optimal body condition, exercising with your pets can also provide the same benefits to you!
It’s also important that your indoor pets (rabbits, small animals and cats) get regular exercise too using wheels, climbing equipment, etc. that can be purchased at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store.
Expand your dog’s horizons
People are creatures of habit. As a pet parent, we know that taking the dog out for a walk is important but it’s very easy to get into the same routine of walking the same route. New experiences are important for you and your dogs’ mental health and social skills. There are lots of places in every community for dogs to run and play, whether it’s a dog park or a school yard. Commit to venturing out of your regular neighbourhood at least once a week. NOTE: Please remember to stop and scoop!
Time-out to pamper: When you look good, you feel good! We all like to be spoiled and in turn spoil our loved ones. Your pets are no exception. Grooming your pet regularly (at least once a week) is important. A good quality brush is a great investment.
Some breeds have a seasonal shedding season in the spring when they lose their winter coats. As the winter rolls around, the dogs shed a second time to remove the summer coat and grow their winter coat.
Some pets shed a lot. What can you do to help get the hair loss under control? The more hair you remove the less you will see it all over your house. Brushing your dog once a day will greatly reduce the unwanted hair all over your clothes, carpet and furniture, especially during shedding seasons. Ensure that you complete a full brush-out of your dog’s coat to get rid of any loose fur and bathe the dog prior to the dog’s undercoat for the winter begins to grow in. Brushing also helps to restore oils to a new coat, stimulates the skin and prevents matting, which can be painful.
It is not normal for your dog’s coat to thin as the dog gets older. If you think your pet is shedding abnormally, it is recommended that you speak to the Healthy Pet Care Specialists at your neighbourhood Global Pet Foods store. If you see bald spots as a result of your pet’s hair loss is abnormal, take her to your veterinarian immediately.
Setting aside time each day to groom your pet is also a great time to bond with them. Whether it’s time spent brushing their coat, buying them a trendy new collar or a new bed, your furry children will love the attention. Commit to pampering yourself after you’ve pampered your pet!
Keep your pets safe: Keeping your pet contained is healthier both for him and for the environment. In the case of dogs, who like to chase things like cars, a fence or a leash helps ensure their safety and survival. Domestic cats are also a huge predator of native birds, and can decimate local populations pretty quickly. You may not think of your pet as a natural predator, but he or she is more than capable of killing small animals.
Teach your children to be mindful about not accidentally letting the dog or cat to run out of the house unsupervised. Keep your pets on a leash when you’re out and about in your neighbourhood.
Take more car rides with your pets
Some pets suffer from travel (motion) sickness or extreme anxiety in a car so dislike car rides. Further, many pets dislike being in carriers. Getting your pets become accustomed to car rides and being in a crate/carrier when they are puppies and kittens is very beneficial for them when you have to take them to the veterinarian or when you want to take them on road trips with them.
We cringe when we see dogs running loose in a vehicle or, even worse, sitting on the driver’s lap! All pets should be restrained in a seat belt harness, backseat barriers, pet kennels or crates, or pet carriers to keep them safe from injury if you are in a car accident. Ensure that your pet has enough room to comfortably sit and/or lie down in it. All kennels or crates should be secured to the vehicle’s floor.
We know that there are great psychological benefits from being a pet parent. Pets can provide us with excellent social support, stress relief and other health benefits — sometimes more than other people can!
Resolve to be the best pet parent that you can be so that you both you and your pets remain healthy in 2016 and beyond.
Happy New Year!!