October is National Pet Wellness Month! We know you treat your pet like family and want them to always be at their happiest and healthiest. We’re sharing signs of good pet health and tips to keep your cat or dog at their best!
What to Look for to Determine Pet Health
It’s important to understand what a thriving pet looks like so you can determine when something may not be quite right. Always contact your veterinarian first with any concerns.
Eyes | Ears | Nose
Your pet’s eyes should be clear, bright, and moist with normal tear production. Make sure to regularly (and carefully) trim any long hairs that grow around your pet’s eyes that could cause vision impairments or scratch the eye itself.
Ear infections can be common in pets, especially dogs, and frequent infections can cause long-term problems. Check your pet’s ears for any signs of dirt or debris, swelling, or redness and be sure to properly protect or dry their ears during frequent bathing or swimming.
We’ve all seen or heard one cliche or another along the lines of “Love is a wet nose and a wagging tail.” A cool, moist nose is a healthy nose for a cat or dog, although dryness or warmth isn’t out of the ordinary depending on the individual pet. Watch your pet’s nose for any signs of unusual dryness or cracking or mucus/discharge that may indicate an infection.
Skin | Coat
You may hear “skin and coat” and simply think of your pet’s fur, but it’s so much more important than that! Your pet’s skin and coat work together to protect all the crucial things underneath like their nerves, organs, and bones. A dry, dull, or regularly matted coat or flaky, red, itchy skin can indicate a problem. Regular brushing or grooming helps to remove dead skin cells and dirt, disperses natural oils, and removes the undercoat to reduce shedding. You can also help keep your pet glowing with proper hydration and quality nutrition that includes fatty acids, vitamins and minerals. An all-natural dietary supplement never hurts either and benefits can be easily added to your pet’s bowl with Stella & Chewy’s Skin & Coat Boost for Dogs or Skin & Coat Boost for Cats.
Pet dental health is so important that there’s an entire month (February) dedicated to it! Oral care is imperative to your pet’s overall health as the bacteria from dental disease could eventually be absorbed into their bloodstream and cause major issues for other organs in the body. Regular brushing of your cat or dog’s teeth is best, but not always the most realistic option for some pets. Anything that works to reduce the build up of plaque or tartar is helpful. Contrary to popular belief, dry food, or kibble, doesn’t actually help keep your pet’s teeth clean. In the wild, a cat or dog’s prey served as a natural teeth cleaner. A complete and balanced raw diet or raw element like a mixer in their feeding routine can help as raw ground bone works as a mild abrasive and natural enzymes work chemically in your pet’s mouth to promote dental health. Watch your pet for any signs of oral discomfort, including excessive drooling, extra foul breath or odor, appetite loss, tooth loss or decay, or red/inflamed gums.
A healthy gut plays a significant factor in your pet’s overall well-being as it absorbs nutrients and gets rid of waste. Frequent diarrhea, vomiting, or constipation are all signs that your pet may be suffering from some sort of digestive sensitivity or that something else may be going on. Poop can be a great (yet not so fun) indicator of your pet’s digestive health and is easy to monitor as something we regularly see and clean up as pet owners. All pets are different so it’s important to establish what is normal in terms of frequency of stools for your individual cat or dog – this can range from once a day to a few times a day. Color and consistency can also reveal a lot about your pet’s digestive health. Brown, formed, regular poops are the best poops! Bathroom habits can also change based on your pet’s diet. Cats and dogs eating dry food may go more times per day, compared to raw-fed pets that may have smaller, firmer, and less frequent stools. Choosing a food with quality ingredients that is easily digestible, along with ensuring your pet stays properly hydrated, are key! Probiotics are also beneficial to help promote a healthy digestive tract. Try Digestive Boost for Dogs or Digestive Boost for Cats as a meal or topper for your pet for some all-natural benefits and guaranteed pre- and probiotics.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the US were overweight in 2018. Obesity can cause numerous health problems for your pet and it’s imperative to keep them at an ideal weight for their age, size, and breed. If your pet is struggling with weight gain, always consult with your veterinarian first to rule out any underlying health issues. There are many ways to help your cat or dog lose or maintain their weight but it’s important to do so in a gradual way. Diet is one of the first things pet parents try. Feed a quality, complete and balanced diet with proper nutrients, high protein, and low carbohydrates and follow the recommended feeding guidelines. Breaking your pet’s daily amount of food into 3-4 smaller meals a day as opposed to the normal 2, can help burn calories as there is more energy required. Adequate daily exercise and activity, in addition to an appropriate healthy diet and limited treats, will help keep your pet in good shape and enjoy many more years with you!
Stamina | Mobility
It’s common for pets to slow down a bit as they age in terms of their energy level but healthy mobility is key to keeping them active however often they choose to be! If you notice your cat or dog starting to avoid running or jumping, limping, walking with a stiff gait, experiencing weakness, or displaying signs of pain, consult with your veterinarian. You can support your pet’s mobility with proper nutrition or supplements that contain natural ingredients like glucosamine, chondroitin, or omega-3 fatty acids that help promote healthy joints and hip function or offer anti-inflammatory properties. For dogs, we offer Hip & Joint Boost dinner mixers and Hip & Joint Relief and Support Hemp Chews. Regular exercise will also benefit your pet by keeping them moving and reducing the chance of weight gain that can put extra pressure on their joints.
Tips to Promote Pet Health
- Ensure your pet drinks enough water. Always provide constant access to clean, fresh water and make sure the bowl gets filled regularly. Some pets, particularly cats, need extra encouragement to drink water and may benefit from a water fountain.
- Sneak in additional moisture into your pet’s diet as proper hydration is key, especially if they don’t drink enough water on their own. Feeding a wet food as a full meal or adding to their bowl as a topper, like Stella’s Stew for dogs or our cat wet food options, is an easy way to make sure they’re getting adequate moisture in their diet. You can also serve pet-safe Bone Broth as a treat or pour over food to hydrate them further.
- Exercise! Regular physical activity keeps your pet in shape, stimulates their mind, and leads to better overall well-being. Take daily walks with your dog or designate a certain hour of the day as playtime for your cat.
- Provide mental stimulation for your dog or cat. Physical exercise is important but so is keeping your pet enriched! We don’t always have the time to play or interact with our pets 24/7 and providing things like puzzle toys, treat dispensing toys, or stuffable toys can help keep your cat or dog busy and having fun on their own!
- Provide your pet with proper nutrition. Good health starts from the inside out and what we put into our pets’ bodies is just as important as what we put into our own. Feed your cat or dog a complete and balanced diet that offers the appropriate amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients they need to thrive. Choose a food whose ingredients you can trust and learn more about what makes Stella & Chewy’s a great option!
- Offer an extra boost when needed! It’s okay to offer your pet extra support with things like medications, supplements, therapies, etc. Do what works for you and what works to help your pet (in accordance with your vet, of course!)
- Visit your veterinarian once a year for an exam and necessary vaccines. Routine visits to your vet once or twice a year keeps you continuously informed of your pet’s well-being, weight, and allows for proper prevention of diseases and other conditions.
- Make sure to use safe, year-round parasite prevention. Avoid the nasty illnesses and side effects that come from parasites like fleas, intestinal worms, heartworms, and ticks. Consult with your veterinarian on a proper dosage and prevention application regimen for your cat or dog.
Stella & Chewy’s is committed to helping cats and dogs thrive through quality nutrition. Don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888-477-8977. Our team would love to speak with you!