Pet Wellness Month: Ten ways to improve your pet’s health today

2022 animal hospice animal wellness tips national pet wellness month october pet's health tracy brad Oct 26, 2022
Animal Hospice Group - Ten ways to improve your pet’s health today

Pet Wellness Month: Ten ways to improve your pet’s health today
By Tracy Brad
Director of Marketing & Communications, Animal Hospice Group

It’s National Pet Wellness Month – but pet wellness is something we can focus on year-round. Animal Hospice Group is happy to bring you ten easy ways to help your pets stay healthier and happier every month of the year. (Please consult your veterinarian first with medically related questions!) 

  1. Make regular veterinary appointments and consult specialists, when appropriate

The best way to improve your pet’s health – and keep them healthy, too! – is by going to your veterinarian regularly. Your veterinarian can determine how your pet’s health is progressing, year over year, whether he or she is maintaining a healthy weight, if any lumps, bumps, or blood work results indicate that visiting a specialist might be in order, or if there are any concerns for disease. Your veterinarian can help you consider every aspect of your animal’s health, from their paws, claws, nails, or hooves, to their skin, hair, and teeth! 

  1. A happy smile is a healthy smile 

Your pet’s teeth can tell you a lot about their overall health. Possible signs of poor dental health include difficulty eating, unusually bad breath, inflamed or bleeding gums, and excessive drooling. 

Photo: Elaine and her dog displaying their pearly whites

Brush, chew, or float! 

Brushing your teeth daily isn’t just for humans – our pets benefit from it, too! This inhibits the growth of tartar and plaque and decreases the incidence of illnesses caused by unhealthy teeth. You can either use a toothbrush, a finger-brush, or a cloth to clean their teeth. If you’re uneasy about doggie dental hygiene, start out slow, by petting their muzzle and gradually working up to using the brush or cloth. Chews can also help keep your dog’s teeth and gums healthy; just make sure the chews aren’t too hard, as they can potentially fracture their teeth. Cats can benefit from regular brushing, too: dental issues, including periodontal disease, are common with our feline family members. Remember to start slow and use toothbrushes and toothpastes that are specifically designed for cats. Horses’ teeth need regular care, as well: they continue to grow over the course of their lifetimes and horses will need regular dental procedures, called “floats,” that keep the surfaces of their teeth smooth to grind hay, grass, and grain.

  1. Take A closer look at what they’re eating 

Whether you feed your pets kibble, wet food, raw, home cooked, hay, grain, or a blend of different foods, take a closer look at the ingredients. Pet nutrition plays a very important role in pet wellness. If your dog or cat has itchy skin or experiences gastrointestinal distress frequently, it could be due to a food allergy. 

Life is sweet 

Dogs are omnivores, just like humans, so regardless of what you feed them, consider introducing some fruits and vegetables into their diet, including sweet potatoes, carrots, apple slices. Cats are carnivores, but the following fruits and veggies are safe for them, too: sweet potatoes are high in dietary fiber, help digestive health, and contain Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and manganese. Carrots are high in fiber and beta-carotene and low in calories. Apples also provide fiber and Vitamins A and C; just make sure you remove the core and seeds. 

  1. Make sure your pets stay hydrated 

Our pets need to be properly hydrated year-round, so make sure that they have access to fresh, clean water at all times. Water is the main element of healthy cells and a major component of blood, as well, and being properly hydrated helps with digestion, nutrient absorption, and temperature regulation.  

  1. Make sure they get regular exercise 

Regular exercise is important for animals of all ages. Older or special needs animals can have shorter bouts of exercise, while younger animals can exercise often and for longer periods of time. Exercise enables our animals to maintain healthy weights, muscle tone, and flexibility, while providing endorphins and enrichment.

Photo: Amy and Scotty enjoying the outdoors

  1. Provide them with species-appropriate enrichment, including socialization 

Cats love to climb. Dogs love to socialize and sniff. Horses love to graze. Find out what your animal loves to do and discover ways to help them enjoy their species-specific (and breed-specific, when it applies!) preferences. Emotional and psychological distress in our animals can often be alleviated by making minor changes, such as adding a cat tree for our cats, providing more social time for our dogs, and increasing turnout time for our horses. 

  1. Be mindful of any physical or behavioral changes 

Have you noticed changes in your animal’s gait? Is he or she grumpier or less social? Are they urinating inappropriately or hiding all the time? Are they suddenly drinking more water? These are all signs to watch for and could be indicative of a potentially serious issue. When in doubt, consult your veterinarian ASAP. When appropriate, also contact a behavioral specialist who can help you determine what issues your pet might have. 

  1. Consider alternative modalities, like pet massage, hydrotherapy, and CBD oil

Massage and physical therapy aren’t just for humans – our animals love these modalities, too! Pet massage is for animals of all ages and sizes. Whether your animal is recovering from an injury, has arthritis, has special needs, is a senior animal, or you’d just like to add some variety to their lives, alternative modalities are a big part of pet wellness, including their physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing. 

  1. Learn pet first aid and CPR so you can respond during a crisis 

When every moment counts, knowing how to respond in an emergency can make the difference between life and death. Learning pet first aid and CPR can give you the peace of mind to be able to help your pets during an emergency.  

  1. Have an animal hospice plan 

Photo: Richard comforting a senior dog

Planning for an animal’s end of life might seem scary, but using animal hospice with your terminally ill or senior animals is an important (but often forgotten) part of pet wellness. Having an end-of-life plan using an animal hospice model can help you ensure that your pets’ wellness is prioritized until their final moments. The Animal Hospice Group provides support and education for caregivers to help demystify this final stage of life. You can learn more about Animal Hospice Group’s educational programs by clicking here.



Please show us all that you like this article by sharing, commenting, and/or giving this a "LIKE" on Facebook. Photo in post (header): Courtesy of Amy L. (AHG Intern), Lebowski getting examined by a veterinarian.