New Year, New You
The start of a new year is a great time to pause and reflect on the year that was, and plan for the year ahead. Prioritising your health and well-being, and that of your pet, is a great way to kick off 2024.
Our vets have outlined 5 ways of adopting a healthier lifestyle for you and your dog this coming year. Not only will these changes have a positive impact on your long-term health, but they will give you more opportunities to bond with your pet.
Dogs are an excellent motivation to get up and get moving - who needs a gym membership when you can get out and explore with your best friend!
On average, dog owners walk more minutes per week and are 54% more likely to meet recommended levels of physical activity than those who do not own a dog. Dog walking may also be linked with a lower risk of obesity.
Regular Health Checks
Regular health checks, for us and our pets, are recommended by medical professionals to ensure optimal health and to identify any early signs of illness or medical concerns. Identifying health issues early can increase the chance of effective treatment and positively impact the health of the patient.
Regular vaccinations and preventatives ensure your dog is protected against deadly diseases and parasites. Vaccinations protect against diseases such as parvovirus, canine distemper virus, hepatitis and kennel cough. Preventatives protect dogs against deadly parasites including heartworm, fleas and intestinal worms. Ticks, including the deadly paralysis tick are present in many areas of Australia so protection against ticks is also recommended. Combination products such as Nexgard Spectra and Simparica Trio protect against most common parasites.
Many pet parents are surprised to learn that around 80% of dogs over the age of three years have some degree of dental disease. Dental disease not only causes pain for your dog, but chronic inflammation around the teeth and gums as well as the presence of bacteria, can lead to more serious health consequences for your pet including damage to the heart, kidneys, and liver.
The good news is dental disease is completely preventable! Starting dental prevention is one of the easiest ways to improve your dog's long term health. While daily tooth brushing is the gold standard when it comes to dental prevention, other preventatives such as therapeutic dental diets, dental treats, water additives as well as chews and powders, can all decrease plaque build-up and protect your dog against dental disease.
Battle The Bulge
As much as we've all enjoyed the holiday feeding frenzy, the New Year reminds us of the importance of a healthy waistline and dare we say it, portion control. Many people can be carrying a few extra kilo's due to Christmas festivities, and this may be no different for our furry companions.
While it may be tempting to just scoop "about... this much?" kibble as well as a few titbits here and there, this can quickly lead to overfeeding. So how do you know how many calories you should be feeding your pet each day? Thankfully, most pet food packaging contains clear feeding guidelines for you to follow based on your pet's weight and body condition.
If you and your dog are embarking on a New Year weight loss challenge, then feeding a diet formulated for weight loss may help them shed a few extra holiday kilos. Veterinary Prescription Weight Loss Diets are particularly effective but remember to always check with your veterinarian before starting your dog on a Prescription Diet to ensure this is suitable for your pet.
Swap Screen Time for Playtime
There is no doubt that screen time, whether on a phone, laptop, or tablet, is an integral part of modern society. While we all enjoy lazying in front of a screen from time to time, too much screen time can have a negative effect on our health and relationships. Excessive screen time has been linked to side effects such as headaches, back and neck problems, obesity, depression, and anxiety. Screen time makes us not present and can affect relationships around us, even those with our pets.
Why not try a digital detox for an hour or so, and spend some quality time playing or exercising with your pet? Chances are you and your dog will really enjoy the time together, without your pesky phone getting in the way!