The best medication is the kind you never need to take. One of the greatest ways to ensure a medication-free life for your pet, is to help him maintain a healthy lifestyle. Keeping him emotionally well, mentally stimulated and physically fit is an ideal way to protect against harmful diseases and provide a safeguard for the future. Below are the major aspects to consider when trying to establish your cat or dog’s health, before detrimental conditions can develop.

Elements of Preventative Health Care for Pets

Exercise: It goes without saying that exercise is a necessary component of wellness for all living creatures. Dogs and cats that do not experience regular physical exertion, invariably suffer from all manner of health complications.  Exercise staves off obesity (one of the leading causes of death for pets in the United States), and supports joint and muscles mobility. Dogs and cats that stay active are less likely to express destructive behaviors  are proven to have quicker command-response times, consistent temperaments, and stronger immune systems.  Exercise benefits the mind, body and spirit.

Training: Establishing disciplines help dogs and cats understand not only their rank in the home, but the necessary conduct needed for a pleasant living environment. Good boundaries actually make for happier and healthier pets, and obedience training helps stimulate an animal’s mind, and satiates his need to perform tasks. Dogs and cats that experience training in some capacity, have proven to be more mentally, emotionally and physically balanced.

Nutrition:  Aside from regular physical activity, nutrition might be regarded as the single greatest contributor to a pet’s health. Many of the mainstream pet food companies use vague and misleading descriptions of ingredients, and employ manipulative marketing schemes to mask products of poor quality. Therefore, it can be difficult to determine which pet foods will strengthen and improve your cat or dog’s well-being, and which products will have the opposite effect.  Sub-par nutrition often found on the shelves of pet food stores, can cause allergies, lethargy, lack of attention span, obesity, digestive issues, joints swelling and a whole host of negative side effects when used over time. Instead of “poisoning” your pet through the daily scoop of generic kibbles, do your research  and find reliable pet food companies with high-standards of ingredients and food production. One example is the Wysong Corporation  which painstakingly ensures that their products only have the highest quality ingredients. Such companies create pet foods which mimic the natural achetypal diets of wild canines and felines, keeping the products free from harmful fillers. The canned, raw, grain-free, and dry foods should be high in protein and enriched with vegetables, fruits, micronutrients, minerals and vitamins to supply pets with the best nutrition available. When considering your dog or cat’s quality and length of life, it will be worth paying a few extra dollars for healthy meals.

Vaccinations:  Both cats and dogs should have received core vaccinations when they are young, as well as booster shots and any non-core vaccinations that might be relevant for their region or breed. They should also be given regular worm treatments, take annual heartworm tests, and doses of preventative medication for fleas and ticks.  Failing to give your dog or cat the right medication could lead to dangerous parasites and life-threatening viruses.

Health Treatments & Vet Visits:  It can be easy for pet owners to shirk the task of daily dental cleaning. However, as described in our article about maintaining oral hygiene, much of the animal’s physical fortitude relies on a healthy and bacteria-free mouth.

Though going to the vet might not be considered “preventative health care,” regularly receiving check-ups is a sure way to guard against the dangers of a sudden onset of diseases. When pets stay up-to-date with their visits to the veterinarian, it is much easier to diagnose and treat a disease before it becomes a severe problem. Pet-owners can keep tabs on their dog or cat’s health through urinalysis, fecal examinations, and blood sampling during annual physical examinations.  For further details, acquaint yourself on what you can expect during an annual vet visit.

Environment:  Just as stress can lead to a plethora of physical problems in humans, emotional strain and anxiety can cause ailments in pets.  Dogs and cats that live with humans who behave erratically by yelling, throw things, or demonstrating threatening gestures are more likely to suffer behavioral and physical scars. Dogs under stress have been known to engage in destructive activities, like hiding, snapping or barking incessantly. They also often suffer from diarrhea and other digestive issues when they feel unsafe in their home, or insecure and worried about their surroundings.

For this reason, environment is very important when considering a dog or cat’s well-being. If you do not feel safe or cared for in your home, likely as not, they will not either.

NOTE: Though it may not be considered a primary preventative care initiative, grooming  is another way to help a pet stay healthy. A simple flea-ridding shampoo, a tidy nail trim and sanitary shave will help keep dogs and cats free from infections, infestations and any bacteria from festering on their skin or paws.