October is a busy month, filled with fall activities, and it is also recognized as National Pet Wellness Month, when caregivers are encouraged to re-evaluate your pet’s health and there are many tips to help keep them safe and healthy all year round.
- Pet proofing your home is important whether you have a new pet or have had pets for years. There are many every day products, including medicines, pesticides and some household plants that can prove poisonous to our animal friends. It is a good time to go through your home and make sure that all potentially harmful objects are out of your pet’s reach.
- Did your dog have a complete wellness check this year? If not, schedule one soon rather than later. It is important that dogs visit the vet more than just when they are sick or injured. A physical can ward off diseases by getting routine vaccinations, and allows your vet to look for any signs of potential health problems which may be effectively treated if caught in the early stages. If you have a senior pet, remember that pets age faster than we do, and therefore need check-ups more often.
- If your dog isn’t already spayed or neutered, you are missing out on major health benefits. According to the ASPCA, female dogs that are not spayed have a much higher chance of getting uterine infections and breast cancer, and intact males have a higher incidence of testicular cancer.
- Dental hygiene is an often overlooked area, and dental problems often lead to other health issues, such as heart, kidney, and joint problems. These are serious problems, and it’s worth taking the time to promote oral health. According to veterinarian Brook Niemiec, “The only time that dogs get bad breath is when they have serious periodontal disease, and by the time a problem manifests itself, disease is probably in an advanced state. With some breeds, as many as 90 percent will have some level of early gum disease by the time they are one year old. Taking care of your dog’s teeth is like changing the oil in the car. If you don’t do it regularly, you will have bigger and more expensive problems later on.” It is estimated that about 80 percent of all dogs over three years of age have oral disease, so it is important to perform routine home dental care and schedule regular oral exams by your veterinarian.
- Most of us really aren’t prepared for emergencies, but it is important to put together a plan to keep your dog safe in case of a health crisis, or a natural disaster. Include a safe pet-friendly place to go, a list of any items you need for yourself, and also for your dog, with medications and contact numbers like your veterinarian or pet hospital.
- Take a closer look at what you are feeding your dog. Not all pet foods are created equal, and you may need to rethink your pet’s food. Many foods contain cheap fillers that don’t provide your pet any nutrition, and wellness starts by what you give your pet for food. Deciphering a pet food label may be confusing, so www.dogfoodadvisor.com, an independent site ranks all of the major dog foods. Click on BRAND and they will rate any specific food, or you may also review all brands A to Z. You may be surprised to learn that many popular foods are not healthy foods. It is also important what treats you are giving your dog. Most commercial treats are not healthy and some are downright toxic. We recommend NO commercial treats, and especially not those that are imported from China.
Here is a very simple, easy to make, healthy treat:
½ cup water
2 ½ cups flour (preferably whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup non-fat dry milk powder
6 tablespoons of margarine.
Mix ingredients and knead until the dough forms a ball.
Pinch off small bits and drop on a lightly greased baking sheet.
Bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees…
Note: if you want to make fancy looking cookies, roll to ½ inch thick and cut into dog bones… the dogs don’t care about their appearance, but if they are for gifts, they will be more impressive looking.)
Dogs give their human companions unconditional love and are always there with an encouraging wag of the tail!
They are indeed very special animals.
We need to realize that they depend on us to provide for their well-being.
Dorothy Hinshaw Patent