7 Healthy Choices for Healthy Pets


When was the last time that you required medical attention of some sort? Consider for a moment the multitude of steps that you probably took and the many choices that you made in an effort to resolve your issue. Did you talk to a loved one about the problem? Did you research a potential solution online? Did you consult with your family doctor, drive to your local drugstore to buy medication, or consider lifestyle changes that may help?

The pets that we love do not have the luxury of preventing and resolving the many difficulties that may impact their day-to-day health and happiness. Our motto at Puritan’s Pride is Healthy Choices for Healthy Living; as a pet parent, it’s up to you to make the right ones.

Here are 7 choices that your pets would ask you to make if they could.

I need vaccines throughout my life.
Vaccinations aren’t just for puppies and kittens. Routine vaccinations can help protect your pet from potentially fatal diseases like Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, Rabies, and Feline Leukemia throughout their adult lives. Most of the initial vaccines that puppies and kittens receive at 6-8 weeks old are effective for 2-3 years, but some, like Distemper and Rabies, require annual boosters. An annual exam with your veterinarian can help you keep track of the vaccinations that are needed.


I need healthy, high-quality food.
While people may go to great lengths to educate themselves on what a healthy diet entails and make their choices accordingly, your pets need you to make these decisions for them. Some of the same rules that you follow may apply. Pets benefit from food containing whole food ingredients, especially meat sources like chicken, duck or salmon. Read the list of ingredients and avoid products that contain the term “by-products.” Reputable brands include Earthborn Holistic, Orijen, Nature’s Variety, Wellness, and Wysong.


I want to play.
Play time with your pet equals exercise time, and pets need regular exercise just like you do. Physical activity can help prevent the complications that may arise from obesity such as diabetes, kidney disease, pancreatitis, and heart failure, and keeping your pet at an ideal weight may also increase their lifespan. A daily walk is a great activity for dogs, though more active breeds like border collies may enjoy more strenuous exercise, like going for a jog with you. If you’re unable to walk your dog for any reason, a twenty-minute play session with toys is a good substitute. Cats enjoy hunting games. Da Bird is a toy with a feather at the end that is designed to mimic the sound and motion of a bird flying. Make sure that the cat gets the last “hunt,” otherwise they might be frustrated later. Exercising pets also has mental benefits. With regular activity, pets will be content rather than restless, they will be less likely to be destructive in the home, and they will be more comfortable in social situations.

I want to be spayed/neutered.
Spaying and neutering your pets isn’t just about population control; it can help both outdoor and indoor pets lead longer, healthier, happier lives. Males that are neutered at a young age experience a decreased risk of prostate cancer, and females that are spayed show a lesser risk of developing mammary cancer and uterine infections. Altering a pet reduces the likelihood of your pet ‘marking their territory’ in your house (you know what we’re talking about!) and they may be less likely to wander away from home in search of a mate.


I need dental care.
Dental care is just as important for dogs and cats as it is for their owners, with complications like periodontal disease being especially dangerous for a pet’s internal organs. Heavy tartar buildup, loose teeth, and infected teeth can be extremely painful and cause your pet to fall ill. Veterinarians recommend regularly brushing your pet’s teeth at home, though dogs are typically much more likely to allow this than cats. Many cats must be sedated in order for a skilled veterinarian to execute a full dental evaluation and cleaning. Products like dental chews and oral rinses can help prevent tartar buildup, but dentistry should always be a consideration during your pet’s annual checkup. If you haven’t brushed your pet’s teeth before, ask your veterinarian for a demonstration. IMPORTANT: NEVER use human toothpaste on your pet; only use products that are specifically made for cats and dogs.

I need a heartworm preventative.
Since heartworms are carried by mosquitos, heartworm prevention is just as important for indoor pets as for outdoor pets. A heartworm test can be performed in just 10 minutes, requires only 3 drops of blood, and is often performed in tandem with tests for tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease. If your pet tests negative, a monthly heartworm protection tablet is highly recommended, and this tablet will also help protect your pet from some intestinal parasites.


I need a LOT of love and affection.
Pet ownership doesn’t just mean having something cute and fuzzy around the house to look at; the key to pet parenting is building a genuine, loving relationship with your pet. While cats are often stereotyped as not needing affection, the truth is that cats need love and express their own love in unexpected ways. Have you ever seen your cat blinking slowly at you? Experts on animal behavior consider that a ‘kiss’! Affection is also a great way to demonstrate positive reinforcement for good behavior.


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One Comment

  1. Judi
    Posted December 14, 2015 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    What a great article. We have had lots of pets over our 54 year marriage. They always have a special place in our lives. We currently have a rat terrier & a blonde Calico. They make our house a home. Theyou give so much more than they take.

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