A few simple steps are all that are needed to improve your animal’s health and wellbeing. Making these changes may help your pet to live a longer, happier life.
Feed your animal a good quality diet without byproducts, animal digest, animal fat, poultry fat, soybean meal, and chemical preservatives. By rotating foods every three to six months, you improve nutrition and minimize food intolerances. Making diet changes gradually will allow your animal’s digestive system to adjust to a new diet without upset. If you want to prepare your animal’s food, be sure your recipe is balanced. Honest Kitchen and Sojos make premixes (everything except the meat) as well as complete meals which you rehydrate at home. Protect your animal by being aware of food and treat recalls. You can sign up for recall emails at https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/dog-food-recall-alerts/
Make sure your animal always has access to clean, fresh water. Water bowls should be made of glass or stainless steel and should be washed at least weekly. (Plastic bowls are not recommended. Chemicals from the plastic can leach into your pet’s water or food and some animals can develop contact reactions or infections on the muzzle.) If you put medicines or other substances in your animal’s only water source, you run the risk that your pet will not drink all the water it needs. Put any medications in a second water bowl placed by the regular water bowl. A water filter that removes chemicals, pesticides, lead, and drugs will improve the water your animal consumes.
Avoid giving your animal microwaved food. When food is microwaved, its molecular structure is altered. This can lead to the formation of compounds that do not exist in nature and which have negative impacts on body components such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and the immune system. Some of the compounds formed are considered carcinogenic. Gently warming or heating food on the stove is better for your animal.
Gradually introduce fresh fruits and vegetables into your animal’s diet. The Environmental Working Group(EWG) annually publishes a dirty dozen list of fruits and vegetables considered to be the most contaminated with pesticides. In 2018 this list includes strawberries, tomatoes, spinach, and apples. This year’s EWG 2018 clean 15 list includes cabbage, asparagus, honeydew, cantaloupe, and cauliflower. Organic vegetables have fewer pesticides and are an excellent choice where available. Genetically modified (GMO) vegetables have been shown to cause health problems and should be avoided. Be sure to wash all produce with a vegetable wash and rinse thoroughly to remove pesticide residues. Fresh fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of naturally occurring antioxidant compounds which can improve your animal’s health. However, some foods are harmful to animals (e.g., grapes, raisins, onions, macadamia nuts) and should not be fed. Animals who don’t care for fruits and vegetables should not be required to eat them. Vegetables may be lightly steamed for animals who do not care for raw produce.
Exercise your animal. It is a chance to spend time with your companion who will benefit from the fresh air and sunshine and your company. Animals who get appropriate exercise regularly have better mobility, fewer digestive problems and weight issues, less stress, and improved mood. Exercise can also help your animal to age gracefully with less arthritis and muscle loss. The mental stimulation of regular walks helps keep older animals engaged and lessens the chance of cognitive dysfunction (senility).
Minimize the use of chemicals in your animal’s environment. Many animals are indoors most of the time, which increases their exposure to indoor air pollution, mold, and environmental contamination. The Honest Company and Seventh Generation are just two of the many companies which produce natural cleaning products. Use of such products can reduce the chemical burden in your home, making it safer for your companion. If you prefer to make your own products, http://organizedhome.com/clean-house/pantry-recipes-homemade-cleaning-products offers recipes and other helpful information. Fertilizers and pesticides used on lawns and gardens are another source of chemicals that can harm your animal. Gardens Alive (https://www.gardensalive.com) offers natural products for lawn and garden care which are safe for your pet.