Fundamentals of Good Health!

We all want our pets to live as long as possible. That is a goal we can take some positive steps towards. What those changes might be, will be different for everyone; however, there are many simple ones that you can easily implement. 

Number one for me, is feeding the most natural diet possible. Whether this is home cooking, raw diet, home-made pre-mixes, freeze-dried, or a natural kibble will be up to you and what fits best with your lifestyle and pet(s). You can also choose to do a mix of the above by feeding kibble as a base and supplementing this with fresh foods when time allows. The best diet will be the freshest, but you can also pick the best quality kibble available and expect great results. Many foods on the market now use free-range ingredients, fresh caught produce and helpful botanicals and other beneficial foods that help keep your pet healthy. 

Next in this list for me is selecting a holistic veterinarian who looks at the whole health of your pet. Ideally this veterinarian will titer test your pet rather then repeatedly vaccinating your pet. This should help keep their immune system healthy and prevent over-vaccinating. Your holistic veterinarian can also advise you on natural remedies and homeopathic treatments to combat/prevent many ailments.

The third most important plan for good health is of course keeping a healthy mouth. Easier said then done; I know; however, keeping good dental hygiene is one of those things that will help keep your pet alive longer. When you have multiple pets you may need to opt for a product that is sprinkled on the food, like Nature's Dentist or another similar product. If you have time to do better, you can also brush the teeth. This is the gold standard in keeping the teeth free of tarter. This can be done alternating with, or in combination with, a dental gel that can be applied at night after all feeding is complete. Remember, that poor dental hygiene effects the entire animal, including the organs and all the things you don't see....plus the breath will smell better!

Fourth on my list is weight control. I feed all my cats (7 in the house) free choice dry food. I don't have anyone overweight and I also feed 4 wet meals per day. This has worked well for me; however if you have an overweight cat you should switch your kibble to a calorie controlled or "light" or "reduced-calorie" formula. To help slow feeding you can now buy treat balls, puzzles and slow feeding bowls that will slow the feeding process down and hopefully trigger a foraging game for your cat. Something I've also heard lately is that wet food helps the cat feel full. I find this makes sense to me, and it also helps increase the water intake which is beneficial to all cats. For dogs, all of the same principles apply. Remember that simply cutting back on the kibble below the recommended portion is not advisable as you may be depriving your pet of vital nutrients. Instead I'd recommend the reduced calorie food at a regular dose until ideal weight is achieved. Regular exercise is going to go hand-in-hand with this diet. I also have three large dogs that I apply this feeding practice to, with free choice kibble, and at minimum toe fresh or canned meals per day. Out of three dogs, one is overweight; however he also suffers from hypothyroidism. Getting his weight to an ideal number has been something of a problem as we have small children in the house and he has become something of a thief 😔 But we all have to recognize the things we can fix, and some may be long-term battles for us.

These four principles of good health are the things highest on my list...along with plenty of playtime, and social interaction with other animals, and of course with "their people". Plenty of fresh air, mental engagement and healthy lifestyle will hopefully get you the longest time possible with your pet. Look at that dairy farmer in Australia I think it was, whose Kelpie lived to 30. And it was 30 "good" years where the dog was active and lived in relative good health the entire time. That is my wish for my pets, and for yours!

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