New Year’s Resolutions for You & Your Pet

As the year comes to an end, we tend to instinctively think about the improvements we can make in our lives and how we can be better in the year to come. This New Year I propose to not only consider yourself, but your pet as well. I have put together this guide on how to keep your dog or cat healthy, happy and safe in 2013.
Trips to the Vet
At minimum you should take your pet to the vet once a year for an annual exam. Vaccines that are needed can be given at this time and any necessary blood work can be taken. Younger animals, older animals, or those with medical conditions may need more frequent visits. For example, the majority of your dog’s vaccines will be given in the first few years of life, meaning more vet trips during the puppy years. Consult with your veterinarian about vaccine schedules and routine visits to make sure you stay on track in the upcoming year.
Diet & Exercise
Most of us are guilty of looking at the New Year as the perfect starting point for a diet or exercise regimen. Why not take this opportunity to help your pet get fit in 2013 by making healthy changes to their diet and incorporating more fitness into their days.
The easiest way to improve your dog or cat’s diet is by doing some simple research on the pet food and treats you feed them. Are the ingredients wholesome and nutritious or is your pet food muddled with chemicals and preservatives? (My recent series What is Your Pet Eating? can offer more insight on this topic.)
As important as diet is exercise. All pets, young to old, need some form of physical activity. How much depends on his or her breed, age, size, and health condition, but every pet can benefit from a little bit every day. Walking, swimming, jogging, and playing games are just a few of the ways to get your pet moving. Swimming is the lowest impact activity, which means it’s safe for almost everyone, even those with limited mobility.
You would be surprised at how many things in your home and around your property can be hazardous to your pet. (I’m sure a few of you have discovered this season that your pet has a palette for Christmas tree ornaments…) Save yourself and your pet from a horrible ordeal by taking similar precautions that you would with a small child. Below you’ll find a few easy tips:
• Baby safety gates are excellent in blocking off dangerous areas of your home (or shielding your Christmas tree, for example).
• Cable clips can help compile wires or place them in discreet places where your animal won’t be tempted to investigate them.
• Outdoor floor lighting (or simply carrying a flashlight) can help illuminate areas when you take your pet out after dark. This will help you avoid an unexpected visit from a poisonous frog or friendly snake.

At the end of the day you know your pet better than anyone and are aware of which parts of his or her life could most benefit from improvement. I hope these tips aid in you making 2013 the best year for you and your pet. Happy New Year

What is Your Pet Eating? Part IV (And what are YOU eating?)

What is Your Pet Eating? Part IV (And what are YOU eating?)

My ongoing interest in health and nutrition led me to the book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis. The shocking information I learned by reading this book made me not only reevaluate what I was feeding my pets, but what I was putting in my own body as well. Since I have been posting about the poor quality and ingredients found in processed pet food these past few weeks, I thought now was as good a time as any to share a few of the main points discussed in this book.

The Whole Grain Hoax

We are constantly hearing how incorporating whole grains into our diet will help us maintain a healthy weight and improve our overall health. Sadly, the majority of whole grains available to Americans today are far from healthy.

Over the past few years, technology has birthed a new breed of genetically modified grains. A food that has been genetically modified has had its natural genetic makeup altered, turning it into a laboratory created “super food.” GM foods are typically easier to crop because they grow faster and are more resistant to disease. It has even been said that they taste better.

But as we all know, super hero powers don’t come without a price. GM foods have been linked to many health issues, including allergies (ever wonder why so many people are on a gluten/wheat free diet these days?). The scary part is that because GM foods are so new, the majority of their risks are unknown. I don’t know about you, but I’m not completely comfortable being a GM food guinea pig.

The Most Popular Ingredient

Aside from the fact that the majority of grains we consume are genetically modified; grains have also swindled their way into all of our food. Wheat is by far the most popular ingredient in grocery stores around the country. So much so, that you will often see “GLUTEN FREE” labeled on products that you could never imagine would contain a grain.

This wheat overload is adding to the ever-growing wheat intolerance in this country and correlating health problems. We are constantly ingesting wheat from morning to night, even when we don’t think we are. As a validation of this claim, I challenge you to check the ingredient list. How many of the things that you eat, CONTAIN: WHEAT?

Knowledge is Power

I hope you take some of this information into consideration and pause for a minute and think about what you, your family and your pets are eating on a day-to-day basis. You may be shocked at how stagnate your nutrition has become and how predictable your next meal really is.