How to Create a Healthier Life for Your Pet
Healthy living–for pets and pet owners alike–isn’t just about diet and exercise. Creating the healthiest lifestyle includes meeting the physical and emotional needs of all parties. From preventative health to playtime, our Bayside staff has compiled some of their top recommendations to help you create a healthier life for your pet!
Allergy Relief for Itchy, Scratchy Friends
Did you know that our furry friends can suffer from allergies just like us?! From food sensitivities to seasonal allergies, pets can experience a variety of symptoms that indicate to their owners that a reaction is occurring.
Common signs that suggest your pet may be suffering from allergies include excessive itching or licking (especially of ears and paws), vomiting, diarrhea, or changes to their coat (dull fur, hair loss, dandruff/dry skin).
If you suspect that your pet is having an allergic reaction, please contact the staff at Bayside to schedule an appointment to assess the symptoms and get a recommendation for how to give your furry friend some instant and long-term relief.
Don’t Let the Bugs Bite
Flea & Tick Prevention
These common spring and summertime pests can cause allergies for some pets. Once they’ve bitten your companion, an itchy, adverse reaction can occur. It’s wise to battle these little vermin before they can cause a more serious problem for your pet.
While you can find over-the-counter topical flea and tick solutions at most major retailers, they’re not always your #1 line of defense. To find the best solution for your little ball of fluff, we always recommend chatting with your veterinarian about parasite prevention and considering what they’re most frequently exposed to. Many prescription flea and tick medications can keep pests at bay or kill them before your pet even knows they’ve attracted a hitchhiker.
Pets (and their humans) are susceptible to a variety of worms that can wreak internal havoc that ranges from mild (upset stomach) to severe (in some cases, death).
These little buggers may come from other infected animals/pets, eating raw or infected meat, or consuming larvae. These parasites often feed off your animal’s food, thus starving your pet of much-needed nutrition. However, even pets that appear healthy may have a mild case of worms, so it’s important to pay close attention to the following:
- Your pet’s appetite: Increased appetite + weight loss can be a sign of worms
- Your pet’s physique: Rapid, unexplained weight loss or a distended ‘pot’ belly in puppies and kittens
- Your pet’s excrement: Some worms may be visible in vomit and/or feces
Pamper Pets with Regular Grooming
Fresh Breath for Longevity
Believe it or not, fresh pet breath isn’t just for your benefit! Healthy teeth and gums are essential to your pet’s health. Not only does regular pet dental care provide fresh breath, it can also lower the risk of inflammation and infection throughout your pet’s body.
At Bayside, we recommend a regular dental exam as part of your pet’s annual preventative care plan.
Pet-Friendly Spa Day
Haircuts and pedicures aren’t just for the girls: Keep your pet looking fresh, clean, and stylish with routine grooming.
Regular bathing and brushing can keep your furry friends (and home) free of dirt, and pests, and may reduce shedding. For breeds of cats and dogs with longer coats, daily or weekly brushing may be needed to keep fur detangled, clean, and free from matting.
Creative Play & Exercise
There’s nothing wrong with the basics–like walks, dog parks, or feather teasers to keep your cuddly companions entertained. But every now and then it’s good to change things up to keep your furry friend’s mind and body stimulated.
- Try lick mats or Kong-style toys with peanut butter, yogurt, or pumpkin puree to keep your pup entertained. Licking releases endorphins and is a calming activity for pets that experience separation anxiety.
- Doga, yoga with your dog, has benefits for you and your furry best friend. Increase bonding with your pet while also helping to improve everyone’s muscle mass, joint health, and mental well-being.
- Create a cat obstacle course to unleash their natural hunting instincts and encourage exercise. Use household objects, such as pillows and chairs, to create alleys, tunnels, and perches, and use their favorite treat to help guide them through the course.
- If you enjoy birdwatching, so will your kitten. Place a bird feeder outside their favorite sunny window and create a cozy space for them to lounge and watch the birds. Don’t be surprised when you hear your kitty chirping and communicating with them!
Build a Healthy, Balanced Diet
Understanding how to build the best diet for your canine or feline friend is essential to helping them lead long, healthy lives. To get started, we’ll cover some of the basics of nutrition.
Dog Nutrition Basics
Dogs are, by nature, omnivores, meaning that they can (and will) consume meat and plant foods. But what does a balanced meat-plant ratio look like? Well, we’re glad you asked!
Just like humans, dogs require protein, fats, carbs, and other nutrients. If one of these food categories gets too much more attention than another, the result can be health problems. These can manifest in similar ways to our own health issues. The daily caloric intake of fats (60%), proteins (30%), and carbohydrates (10%) will fuel your doggo with energy, provide them with a well-functioning immune system, and keep their joints healthy.
Cat Nutrition Basics
Unlike dogs, cats are obligate carnivores—meaning, in the wild, they require meat to survive. And, typically, cats are not as prone to drinking water as dogs, so their meaty food sources must provide hydration as well.
For optimum health, our feline friends require a high protein (40+%), moderate fat (<50%), low-carb diet (<10%) and plenty of moisture content in their daily food sources.
Creating the appropriate well-balanced diet for your furry friend takes a little time and education, but is absolutely possible!
Once you’ve found their new favorites, you can rest assured that you’re providing them with the best chance to avoid urinary tract issues, bowel disruptions, diabetes, and other chronic (at times costly) health dilemmas.
We Our Clients
The Bayside staff and vets always take such good care of our dogs. We appreciate how friendly and thorough everyone is in ensuring the best care for our pets. — Scott Warner
I completely trust Dr. Shepherd and his staff! His office staff is competent and friendly! — Steve Alderman
Dr. Shepherd & his staff are awesome!!! He is always there when my animals need him no matter what & they just love him! We wouldn't go anywhere else! :) — Mindy Taylor
Always feel like Quincy receives the best care, and assessment. He's made to feel relaxed, and comfortable,and he gets excited when he realizes he is going to the vet. Previously, at other vets, he was always very stressed. We are lifelong customers. — Geri Vidimos