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Stay ahead of the chill: Essential health tips for your pets.

Health is on everyone’s minds as winter arrives.  While you are dosing the family in preparation with Vitamin C and ensuring that everyone is eating their five a-day, exercising and getting sufficient rest, this is a great time for you to do your pet’s health check too.   

 

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Dr Guy Fyvie, Veterinary Affairs Manager from Hill’s Pet Nutrition, says that just like humans there are several elements that are required to keep your pet’s overall health in check. “So, whether it is an annual health check-up for your dog or cat or if you have noticed they are not acting their normal self, below are some things that will help contribute to your pet’s overall health.” 

 

Veterinary visit

  • Having an annual or twice-a-year general check-up will help to ensure that your pet is healthy, and any concerns are handled timeously, including keeping vaccinations up to date.   

 

A balanced diet and nutritional support

  • Your pet’s nutrition is an important part to help to prevent future ailments or to help alleviate current symptoms.  Dr Fyvie says that Hill’s Pet Nutrition has a range of foods to address the different needs of your pet.  For example, if your pet is experiencing digestive problems, Hill’s Science Plan Sensitive Stomach & Skin supports a healthy and gentle digestion while nourishing their skin.  One of the most common ailments to affect cats is urinary infections.  Hill’s Prescription Diet c/d Multicare Stress Cat Food is clinically proven to lower the recurrence of the most common urinary signs by 89%, together with ingredients to help control stress.  Hill's Prescription Diet j/d Food is proven to support your pet's ability to run, walk, play, and jump.

  • As winter is approaching, we tend to turn to comfort food and in so doing often reward our pets by feeding them titbits or increasing their portion sizes. Dr Fyvie warns against this and suggests finding alternatives to treats, such as   rewarding your pet with play toys and walks.  Pet obesity is still the biggest health concern for our cats and dogs. 

  • Fresh water that is easily accessible throughout the day is as much a necessity in winter as it is in summer.


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Exercise, entertainment and mental stimulation

  • Regular walks or play time in the garden or park will help to keep your dog physically active while also great for their mental health and allowing you to spend quality time with them.

  • Cats love interactive playtime whether it be following a laser pointer or playing with a catnip mouse.   

  • Puzzle toys that dispense food create challenges that  will help to keep your pet stimulated for ages.  

 

Grooming

  • A clean dog is a happy dog.  This doesn’t mean that your dog shouldn’t get dirty but bathing them regularly and keeping their coats in a great condition will make them comfortable and can also help prevent many skin issues.  Regular grooming can also help to pick up any health conditions timeously.  Regular brushing of your dog and cat’s coats will help to prevent matting and reduce shedding too. This is also a nice way to bond with your pet. 

  • Dental care is not only an important part of their hygiene but also their overall health.  Brushing your pet's teeth regularly or make arrangements for an oral clean with your vet is recommended.  


Lastly, yet most importantly, is love and affection. Spend time with your pet to strengthen your bond and to help them feel loved and appreciated.  

 

Dr Fyvie concludes that if you notice any changes in your pet’s behaviour, appetite, or physical condition a visit to the vet may help to identify and correct any issues while helping to put your mind at ease.  

 

For more advice and help for caring for your pets visit PawPedia.co.za

 

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