16 Treasure Troves of Health & Wellness for Your Furry Darling

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Dr Suranjan Sarkar
In recent years, the term ‘pet wellness’ has become important. Nowadays pet parents want their pet’s wellness to be examined in every visit to veterinary clinic, but what exactly is health and what is wellness? Are they same or different! According to Canadian vet journal, ‘Health’ in terms of pets refers to a state of physical, mental and social wellbeing whereas ‘Wellness’ means living a healthy lifestyle to ensure good health. – by Dr Suranjan Sarkar
The question arises – what is healthy lifestyle for a pet? From a veterinarians’ perspective there are about 16 ways to ensure your pet’s health and wellness for a healthy and happy way of life.

1. Good health starts with healthy food
Your pet’s diet should be rich in protein and have less carbohydrate. This will ensure ideal weight. Ideally it is best to give them good kibble available in market. If your pet likes homemade food, it should be high in animal protein and less rice, etc. Feeding milk and chapatti is a strict No.

2. Workout is the best therapy
Make sure you ask your vet for ideal workout routine for your pet. Active dog breeds like Labradors need more exercise, old and sick dogs need limited and light exercising. Lack of physical activity and exercise can lead to boredom and they can develop several obsessive compulsive disorders such as licking and chewing their paws, self inflicted wounds, etc.

3. Groom for health & happiness
Grooming and brushing your pets will not only keep ticks and mites away but also there will also be increased blood circulation in skin to give your pet a sense of wellbeing.

4. Don’t dodge de-worming and vaccination
Your pets go outside in the yard or garden and eat mud, grass and get infected with worms left by other street dogs. Therefore, a regular de-worming is a must. Vaccination should be done as per standard guidelines. Always insist for vaccination schedule, never let your vet over vaccinate your dog and as a responsible pet parent you should never ignore vaccination follow-ups.

5. Be tech savvy! Microchips for greater safety
The cases of pet theft and pets getting lost are increasing, that’s why micro chipping your pet is so important. Microchip will help you reunite with your pets in case of theft. This also helps a vet to keep track of pet’s health record.

6. Hello Happy Teeth – Taking care of dental health
Pets on home food tend to develop tartar and dental problems. This happens because home cooked food is semi-solid and there is less need to chew it. Make sure you brush your pet’s teeth with dog toothpaste and a gentle toothbrush. Always use dog toothpaste.

7. Floppy ears of your furry beauties
If you don’t clean your pet’s ears, it can cause build-up and odor. Cleaning their ears with a mild and gentle ear cleanser at least twice a week is a good idea. Failing to clean ears will make the situation worse and there may be pus inside the ears and your pet might constantly scratch or shake his head causing him discomfort.

8. Eyes – the window to their soul!
Watery eyes and red eyes are signs that cannot be ignored. These may indicate some serious internal disease. Keep your pets away from flea repellants, fumes, pesticides and herbicides etc. as these can cause eye problem like itching and irritation.

9. A bond that’s backed by love and affection
Spend quality time with your pets. Go for a walk together, play games, go for car rides, teach them tricks and treat them with rewards, and give them a soothing massage – it’s good not just for their health and wellness, but yours too.

10. Old is Gold! Respecting seniority with love and care
As pets ages their immunity goes down. Eating patterns might change and there may be a need for extra nutritional supplements. Check with your vet on what kind of supplement is best suited for your beloved pet. Also make sure they have softer bedding and you’re more patient and loving with them.

11. The ‘rear’ way truth – Keeping anal glands clean
Infected anal glands can be a problem to your pet. If your pet is constantly scratching on the back or drags on the ground, there is a chance of anal gland infection. Contact your vet immediately for timely detection.

12. Health comes first: Neuter and spay and then let them play!
Spaying helps prevent uterine infection and mammary tumors in female dogs. Neutering a male dog prevents testicular cancer and some prostrate problem. Talk to your vet to know more about these procedures and when to get them done for your pet.

13. Lighter and healthier: One kg at a time
In India an increasing number of pets are obese. The reasons being high carbohydrate diet and lack of exercise. Obesity becomes the root cause of various other health problems like diabetes, joint pain, cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure etc. Some pets also suffer from hypothyroidism just like humans. Best solution is to maintain a balance with nutritious diet and proper exercise.

14. Small needle, Big savior: Say yes to regular blood tests
I always advice pet parents to get their pets blood test done for liver and kidney function at least once a year. These tests can save your pet’s life. There might be some underlying disease that you might miss as both dogs and cats are great in camouflaging signs and symptoms of illnesses. Some illnesses might not have severe symptoms, but with a blood test the vet will get to know about any underlying health problem.

15. Up the guards against diseases with vitamins and supplements
No matter how great your pet’s diet is, there are a few supplements your pet cannot do without. Omega fatty acids are essential to promote healthy heart and a strong immune system. Another supplement that is essential is Glucosamine – for senior dogs. This encourages fresh cartilages and joint fluid to maintain healthy joint. Anti-oxidant supplements are great to fight oxidative damage and environmental toxins. Talk to your vet to know which supplements are best for your pet.

16. Trust your vet, as he/she knows the best
Get regular checkups. Build a relationship with your veterinarian so that when you call at middle of night for some emergency help they should not get annoyed. Regular checkups also help reveal anything unusual in your pet’s body at an early stage.
(Dr Suranjan Sarkar runs Pluto Pet Clinic in Ranchi).

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