Healthy FOR Life
By Julie Asbach
Arf, arf, woof, woof, meow, chirp, chirp, neigh! Translated to human words: “Welcome to the Healthy for Life special pet edition” which is dedicated to the love of animals. Animals have been a huge part of my life since I can remember. They have been tremendous companions and protectors throughout my lifetime and have consisted of dogs, birds, cats, fish, hamsters, turtles, a guinea pig and a chipmunk. In our family we always fondly had several nicknames for our pets. Most of the dogs and cats had at least 4 or 5 terms of affection that they responded to. It is fascinating and rewarding to develop relationships with animals that understand what you are saying to them, which creates the special bond between humans and animals. Please be kind and respect our animals and pets.
Healthy You - Healthy Pet
Just as your children are a reflection of how you raise them, it is the same with your pet. It seems especially true of dogs which can act or start to resemble and look like their owner. Dogs respond to how you treat, feed and exercise with them. What can be unhealthy and toxic to you and your children can be the same for your pets.
Our pets are experiencing the same problem – epidemic obesity – that people are. Health issues related to obesity include lung and eating disorders, heart disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, certain cancers, tumors, arthritis, immune dysfunctions, hyperthyroidism, bone loss, anxiety, depression and other behavioral problems.
To keep that veterinarian bill down you may want to be more aware of your pet’s daily routine. Do these tips sound familiar?
• Eat less, exercise more, stay on a schedule. Read labels, eat smaller meals and portions (measure it out), low fat, lower carbohydrates and calories, high protein, minimal processed foods and more homecooked foods (see our dog recipes on p. 12) Keep pets on a regular schedule of 2-4 meals a day. Speak with your vet or a veterinary nutritionist regarding what may be best for your dog. Your dog or cat may have food allergies as well. A higher protein diet makes them feel fuller so there is less begging. Distracting your pet by paying more attention to them can help too.
• Are you getting enough physical activity? If not, chances are your pet isn’t either. To lose weight, 30 minutes a day of exercise is needed. Play fetch, take a walk, swim, climb stairs or take a training class.
• Keep your pet well-groomed, and give them massages with a dose of love and affection daily.
• Keep their food area and dishes clean and fresh with purified water given daily. Certain cleaning products can irritate your pet, too.
And if you are too full or don’t want to eat that last bite of your meal or a treat does your pet really need it? Most household pets are smaller than we are, they eat less. Overweight dogs can lose 2 years of their lifespan. Most pet owners are often in denial that their pet is overweight.
Communicate and make sure everyone is on the same page in your household to help achieve your goals and your pet’s for a safe and healthier home. For more information check out dogfoodadvisor.com, where they have a dog food calculator for your dog type.
Your pet knows when you’re leaving and can become panicky or depressed. Here are a few tips for when you’re preparing to depart:
• Keep calm when entering or leaving the house. If you’re anxious, they’re anxious.
• Pretend you are leaving sometimes, then sit down and stay in the house.
• Give them a bone or toy before leaving.
• Rule out medical issues if your pet is urinating in the house.
• Give them physical and mental stimulation. They like doing things besides napping and eating. Exercise them well before leaving so they are tired out.
• Get them used of being alone small periods at a time.
• Don’t yell or punish them, it will only create more fear and anxiety.
Fur Detangling Recipe
Take 2 cups of water, mix in 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried). Bring to a boil- remove from stove and strain. Pour water mixture into a spray bottle. Make sure it’s not too hot.
Add 3 drops of glycerin (found at drugstore or health store). Optional- add 1 teaspoon of aloe vera gel.
Shake in bottle, apply after bathing, comb out, do not rinse. Do not save excess mixture for another day. You can also just pour mixture on fur directly. You can also sprinkle corn starch on tangles and separate using fingers while gently pulling apart and then comb out. For extreme tangles you may need to cut them out.