I’m a first-time pet owner. I have a shih tzu named Pepsi that’s almost 3 years old, and he adds fun, companionship and a sense of loyalty to my life. You’ve probably heard that there are many health benefits of owning a pet. And they’re true! The companionship of pets can help manage loneliness and depression. Pets can increase your opportunities to exercise, participate in outdoor activities, and socialize. Regular walking or playing with pets can decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and triglyceride levels. In short, healthy pets = healthy people!
Whether you have a dog, horse, parakeet, or cat, providing regular care is important to having a healthy pet and a healthy family. Keep up with your pet’s vaccines, deworming, and flea and tick control. Provide your pet with a good diet, fresh water, clean bedding, and exercise. By keeping your pet healthy, you keep yourself and your family healthy. Regular veterinary visits are also essential to good pet health.
Moreover, you should know the signs of medical problems. Take your pet to the veterinarian if you notice:
- Loss of appetite
- Drinking a lot of water
- Gaining or losing a lot of weight quickly
- Strange behavior
- Being sluggish and tired
- Trouble getting up or down
- Strange lumps
Food and diet are also an integral part of pet’s health, and amid incidents of pets dying from dog treats, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing long-awaited rules to make pet food and animal feed safer.
The announcement comes as the FDA says it hasn’t yet determined a cause of almost 600 dog deaths believed to be linked to pet jerky treats imported from China. The proposed rules would require those who sell pet food and animal feed in the United States—including importers—to follow certain sanitation practices and have detailed food safety plans. All manufacturers would have to put individual procedures in place to prevent their food from becoming contaminated.
The rules would also help human health by aiming to prevent foodborne illnesses in pet food that can be transferred to humans. People can become sick by handling contaminated pet food or animal feed.
Research of pet owners shows they are willing to make changes and embrace preventive health care visits if they know it will benefit their pets. Unfortunately, research also shows that many pet owners do not completely understand the importance of preventive pet health care. For pet owners to find value in the recommendations of veterinary professionals and be motivated by their advice, there must be effective communication between the health care team and pet owners. Consult your veterinarian about any questions about your pet’s health.