As animal lovers, we all want our furry pals to live as long as possible. But until they come up with a permanent solution to death, we are forced to accept the inevitable- our pets will have to leave us some day. Watching a furbaby age isn’t always an easy task either, but with a few adjustments or realizations, we can help our pets live their longest and best life possible.
Overfeeding a pet can lead to a laundry list of health problems. Even though it can be somewhat inconvenient, it is important to have your pets on a decent and well managed feeding schedule. Some pets can handle free feeding without any setbacks, others cannot. Be sure to pay attention to their size and dietary needs. As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to feel your pet’s ribcage without much “fluff” in between. You don’t necessarily want to be able to see the bones of the ribcage as this can be a sign of malnourishment. It’s more about the feel. A properly managed feeding schedule and amount combined with regular exercise or stimulation will keep your pet happy and healthy for years to come.
Don’t feed them junk food.
We specify “junk food” instead of “human food” because there are actually some human foods that are okay for pets to enjoy. There are MANY fresh veggies and fruits that are healthy and very good for a pet to indulge in.. (Check out our post for the best green veggies for dogs!) However, junk food can wreak havoc on a healthy pet’s insides. Foods that are high in unnatural fats, sugars, oils or carbs can result in a devastating chemistry change within their bodies. This can result in favorable conditions for tumors or cancers to grow.
Give them boundaries.
This rule generally tends to apply more for dogs than cats. Cats tend to be far more independent and have their list of “boundaries” as it is. Dogs however, do better with some rules and regulations. On the leash and off the leash training is extremely important to guarantee your canine remains safe when out and about. Even if you have a dog that does well off leash, it is still a good idea to have them leashed in areas of high vehicle or person traffic. You never know what could trigger a dog’s attention and entice them to go darting off in an unplanned direction. Your dog should return to you after one time of audibly calling their name. If they do not, they need some work. Consider treat training to help get them in the habit of listening. Until you know FOR CERTAIN that they will return when called, it is safer for them to be on a leash when out and about.
Show them love.
This is the simplest and most rewarding tip of them all. Showing your pet love and companionship will give them something to live for. Well-bonded pets crave your love and attention. It’s what makes them yours and you theirs. Take some time each day to acknowledge your furbaby. Whether it is a simple sit down to scratch their favorite spot, a walk to their favorite park or just an invite to cuddle with you in bed- your pet will appreciate the extra attention. Try to always have a positive and welcoming tone as well. Unless you are attempting to be firm about a “caught in the act” mishap or behavior, our pets prefer a calm and positive demeanor. Continued negativity can decrease a pet’s lifespan significantly. Check your vibe, consider kindness and let your pet know you love them.
With these few adjustments, you can help your pet live a longer, happier and more fulfilled life. And let’s face it, as a pet parent, that is one of the best things you can ask for.