By Dr. Susan Lauten, Pawalla Pet Nutritionist
Sure Milo loves that tattered catnip mouse, but does it really contribute to his health? Yes!
In a previous post, I discussed the benefits of wet foods, the foundation of a balanced routine for keeping pets healthy and happy. In this follow-up post, I will discuss other components of a healthy routine - supplements, treats, and toys.
Supplements can support and improve our pets’ health in many ways. For instance, it is known that antioxidants can slow and reverse the signs of aging in dogs. Antioxidants can help avoid tissue damage and reduce the risks of cancer. The addition of certain supplements can improve liver or heart health in our dogs and cats. Animals with kidney disease can benefit from the addition of certain vitamins. Healthy, active, working or sporting dogs can benefit from nutrients that provide the energy required for a full day of play or work and still be ready for the next fun-filled day. Some multivitamins can be safe supplements for all ages. Joint supplements such as glucosamine, chondroitin, MSM, green lipped mussel, and fish oils are all important to the aging fur family member. The benefits of these products can increase the mobility of the aged dog. Let’s not forget cats here too - cats also suffer from hip dysplasia and osteoarthritis.
Treats are also part of pet health, namely mental and emotional health. Provided they are used specifically as treats, the emotional bond that is displayed as part of the play between pet parent and family is priceless at treat time. Our pets will put on their best show to convince us they deserve the treat and we will adorn them with love and praise. Overuse of treats can lead to obesity, so reserve them for once a day. Yes, treats are part of the overall health of your furry friends...
Toys also contribute to the emotional, mental and physical health of your pet family. Cats will imagine they are great hunters as they stalk a toy is drug across the floor, or they will leap through the air after a feather on the end of a stick. Mental stimulation encourages physical play, and discourages destructive behaviors that arise from boredom. Dogs will love trying to figure out how to remove treats from inside a toy, or proudly return a thrown toy to the pack leader, so they can throw it again. Tug-of-war games can help develop muscles and confidence as our pets try to become winners of the game. The physical activity (for both pet and human) is beneficial , and the bonding experience is precious. Both dogs and cats benefit from the mental stimulation that is provided through play and many dogs and cats are capable of entertaining themselves for hours with a good selection of toys.
If it is food, treats, supplements or toys, these tools can help pet families achieve optimal health for their dog and cat kids. Their bodies will benefit from high quality canned foods and supplements, while their minds can work as they use their imaginations to play with treats and toys. Their hunting instincts can be engaged and their domesticated personalities can shine. You will see that your pet family eats and plays with vigor and they will glow with good health and bright eyes.