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The Nitty Gritty

5 Pet Health Tips You May Not Know

Your dog or cat is a loyal friend, always excited to see you and quick to give a happy tail wag. In return, they don’t ask for much - a scratch on the head, a little snuggle and a few treats here and there. However, as a pet parent you know there is more to keeping them happy. Regular visits to the vet for vaccinations and checkups are important. Additionally, there are a few other health tips to follow that will help your furry friend live a longer and healthier life.

1. A Healthy Pet Has an Hourglass Figure

You see your dog or cat every day, so it can tough to notice when they’re putting on a little too much weight. And how are you going to get a frisky cat on your bathroom scale? Instead, remember one simple tip—a healthy dog or cat has an hourglass figure.

When you look at your pet from above, their torso should slightly taper in at the hips. Looking at them from the side, you should see the same taper in their belly area below their rib cage. When you pet them, you should be able to feel their ribs.

While a chubby pet may seem cute, you’re increasing their risks for some of the same weight-related diseases humans experience, such as diabetes and heart disease.

2. Cats Are “Obligate Carnivores”

Obligate carnivores—what is that? It means that cats must eat meat to survive. Their bodies can’t break down the nutrients from sources, like humans and dogs can, so their digestive systems are designed to process the abundance of vitamins they receive from meat products.

When it comes to carbohydrates, cats have a natural way to generate glucose—the blood sugar they need—from protein as well. They don’t need any other types of food. So while a plant-based diet may be good for you, it’s deadly for cats. Look for quality cat foods that are high in protein and low in fillers.

3. Spaying or Neutering Increases Your Dog’s Lifespan  

In addition to helping control the pet population, when owners spay or neuter their dog: they’ll have a longer life expectancy. Researchers found that compared to dogs who are intact, “fixed” dogs live about 1.5 years longer on average. Dogs that aren’t spayed or neutered tend to die sooner due to trauma or infections.

4. Dental Care = More than Fresh Breath

While avoiding stinky breath may be reason enough for regular dental checkups, dental hygiene can impact your pet’s overall health. Heart, liver and kidney disease can occur if dental issues aren’t addressed. In between checkups, brush his or her teeth frequently. Or if the brushing doesn’t go over well, offer dental chews, toys or treats.

5. Some Foods Are Poisonous to Pets

You’ve likely heard that chocolate is bad for dogs, but it’s not the only thing that can harm your pet. Both cats and dogs metabolize certain foods differently that humans do, so be very careful with the “people food” you give them. This list of potentially harmful foods is long and includes things you may not expect, such as grapes, raisins, garlic, onions, walnuts, macadamia nuts, salt, mushrooms, mustard seeds, and avocados. When it doubt, it’s better to avoid giving your pet any out-of-the-ordinary treats.

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