Committing to a program of regular care and exercise.
It's a fact of life that our dogs and cats age much faster than we do - which is why, as pet-wise parents, we are committed to giving our pets the healthiest, happiest and longest life possible. Because even subtle changes in behavior or appearance may signal the beginning of a decline in health, it's imperative to be attuned to your pet's health, happiness and well-being on a daily basis.
Pets can't talk, and even the most observant pet parent may not notice or realize that there are changes occurring in our pet. Many medical issues can only be detected by a trained expert. That's why regular veterinary visits - including routine check-ups and annual vaccinations - are part of responsible pet parenting. A trusted veterinarian will be an advocate for your pet throughout his or her life, equipped with the knowledge to identify potential medical problems before they become chronic or life-threatening.
Like people, the secret to your pet's long, happy and healthy life is to provide enough aerobic activity to promote beneficial cardio-vascular conditioning and effective weight management. Allowing your dog or cat to live a lazy, stationary existence is not an expression of love, nor is it an option for pet-wise parent. A "couch potato" lifestyle can lead to obesity in both dogs and cats, which in turn is a trigger for diabetes, heart disease and other life-threatening conditions.
How much exercise your pet needs depends on a variety of factors, including age, breed, metabolism and overall physical condition. If your pet is not currently in a regular conditioning program, approach a new exercise regimen with care; start with walks, rather than runs, and monitor your pet for signs of breathing difficulties, dehydration or soreness. Short, frequent periods of exercise will help build your pet's strength and stamina gradually - and can help minimize stress injuries to feet and legs.
Let your dog run.
A growing number of animal behaviorists believe that off-leash exercise - in a fenced dog park or other legal off-leash venue - is preferable to always walking next to you on a leash. The reasons are two-fold: First, your dog's instinct is to run spontaneously, and second, off-leash exercise promotes socialization with other dogs that reinforce a sense of canine community. Just be sure to monitor your dog - and his or her canine companions-- for signs of aggression or other undesirable behavior, and always have a leash handy should you need to re-establish control.
Every dog and cat needs regular care and exercise
Regular grooming for your dog or cat can help contribute to longer, healthier lives. Not only will your pet be more comfortable and clean, it's a valuable opportunity to monitor your pet for signs of any abnormalities or potential medical issues. Regular brushing, on the other hand, is a vital part of pet care, as it works to distribute naturally-occurring oils, which promotes a healthier coat, and cleaner, more supple skin. Grooming sessions also allow for close scrutiny of your dog or cat's ears, eyes, mouth, teeth, pads and perianal region.