Pet Health, Your Health
Family. Best friend. Partner in crime.
No matter how you view your feline or canine companion, it's important to see that their health is really your health. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention point to data that links pet health to our health.
The CDC reports that dogs spur childrens' social, emotional and cognitive development. For adults, dogs aid in stress reduction and can boost activity levels through walks, games of fetch and even friendly tug-of-war bouts. The CDC notes that cats are similarly beneficial, providing emotional support and mood-enhancing companionship. They offer tremendous socialization benefits for the homebound or disabled, boosting morale.
So, how do you keep your pets from getting into "ruff" shape?
Exercising your pet
Leisurely park strolls or a vigorous swims are a great place to start. Beyond increased physical activity for you -- and all the accompanying benefits -- the impact on pets' health is tremendous. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that a staggering 54% of U.S. dogs and cats are overweight or obese. Although fluffy kitties and plump puppies seem cute and extra cuddly, weight problems can usher in joint ailments, kidney disease, ligament injury and a shorter life. Not to mention there are quality of life issues for you both -- it's no fun watching a pet struggle to jump onto a favorite spot on the couch.
Starting small is easy
The right accessories can make all the difference in comfort, convenience and safety. For instance, the PupLight and Visiglo Nylon Collars add visibility to your pet during pre- or post-work walks. If the thought of carrying a water bottle and dog doo bags is off-putting, consider the all-in-one Water Walker Leash. This handy unit contains an integrated serving tray, water bottle and built-in bag dispenser to minimize clutter and hassle.
Since we're on the topic of food, Vitality Medical would like to point out that how you feed your pets is extremely important. Placing water and food dishes on the floor can be quite a strain for older dogs, as well as larger breeds. For example, the manufacturers of the Our Pets Healthy Diner claim that elevated pet sets provide the proper feeding ergonomics that aid digestion and posture. Minimizing excessive stooping also reduces joint stress; elderly dogs or those with bone and/or joint ailments may have an easier time eating and drinking. If joint health is already a health concern for your pet, nutrient-dense supplements such as Zuke's Hip Action Daily Hip and Joint Support Treat For Dogs can bolster hip and joint health.
Rover on the road
Car safety is another overlooked aspect of pet -- and guardian -- health.
While it may seem compassionate, or "fun" to keep your pet close in the car, the results from even a minor accident can be tragic. Airbags typically inflate within 25-50 milliseconds -- nearly 200 MPH! Airbags work in concert with seat belts and humans, meaning the life-protecting force from an airbag could be fatal for unrestrained dogs or those tethered in the front passenger seat. Moreover, an impact means that an unrestrained dog could harm occupants.
Fortunately, several companies have cost-effective workarounds that let you and your pet ride comfortably and you confidently. The Midwest Universal Wire Barrier gate is ideal if staining and upholstery tears are concerns. The barrier fits behind the second or third row of crossovers, minivans and other five-door vehicles (i.e., wagons and hatchbacks). This prevents large dogs from climbing on occupants, distracting drivers and being injured by an airbag during a head-on, side or off-set collision. Alternatively, the Bergan Travel Harness secures pets to the backseat. The harness will withstand forces generated from sudden stops. Consider this, and products like it, a form of accident avoidance -- pets are kept from distracting drivers or blocking access to primary controls (e.g., pedals or shift levers).
While the barriers and harnesses sound wonderful in theory, many pampered pets may experience separation anxiety and excessively cry during car trips. Several veterinarians and animal behavioral specialists suggest starting small by getting your pet accustomed to a stationary vehicle before progressing to short trips. During this process, guardians may need help calming nervous pets. This is where herbal supplements such as Ark Naturals Happy Traveler for Dogs and Cats Anti Anxiety Herbal Formula may help. The formula contains valerian, German chamomile, L-Tryptophan and St. John's Wort -- which are all reputed for their calming properties.
While your dog's goofiness or cat's calming presence may pull on your heartstrings, there's much more happening. According to the CDC, pets can help lower blood, pressure and cholesterol levels. Your feline or canine's wellness, physical health and car safety are truly an extension of your own! Making the right choice can ensure years of companionship.
Here's to a life full of Vitality!
- CDC Healthy Pets Healthy People -- Dogs
- CDC Healthy Pets Healthy People -- Cats
- CDC -- Healthy Pets Healthy People
Paul Garcia, Author
7910 South 3500 East, Suite C
Salt Lake City, UT 84121