Discussing The Importance Of Physical & Mental Health In Pets And The Holiday That Promotes It

There are few things in life more important than our health. This applies to our pets as well. Pet health is so important that there is a month-long holiday dedicated to it! The month of October is celebrated as National Pet Wellness Month. This article will go over what this month-long holiday is, why pet health is so important, and how you can get involved. 

A health conscious dog

A health conscious dog

How The Holiday Started

This incredible pet-themed holiday was created by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). The A.V.M.A. created this holiday to help promote pet health & wellness year round. This program especially focuses on educating pet owners about how to keep their pets both physically & mentally healthy. 

This awareness-based pet-themed holiday takes place throughout the whole month of October. Thousands of U.S. veterinary clinics are also participating in this holiday by handing out free in-clinic education kits. These kits contain educational literature and other materials to help inform clients about pet aging, pet health, and the importance of routine veterinary exams. Pet health education is vital to ensuring pets across the U.S. are properly cared for and can live their best lives. 

The PetFit Program

The precursor to National Pet Wellness Month is a program called PetFit. PetFit was created in 2002 and is the very first pet wellness program ever made. It was founded by Purdue University and sponsored by the National Research Council of the National Academies. The aim of this program was to help improve pet health by offering dog weight management services. The results were groundbreaking!

Purdue University conducted a study on the overweight dogs who participated in the PetFit program. They found that the overweight dogs who participated in PetFit lost 14% of their body weight in 12 weeks. Additionally, a follow-up survey the following year showed that 74% of the dogs who participated in the PetFit program had maintained their new weight. This was real life proof that the problem of overweightness & obesity in dogs can be solved. A simple change of diet, nutrition, and exercise can make all the difference in health & well-being. 

A cat at the veterinarian

A cat at the veterinarian

Why Pet Health Is So Important

Typically speaking, pets age much faster than people and have overall shorter life spans. This is why managing and paying attention to their health is very important as they age. Physical health directly affects mental health and vice versa. The key to a long, healthy life is balancing both physical & mental health. 

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reports that the most common health problem in dogs and cats today is obesity. They report that more than 50% of dogs in the U.S. are overweight. This is a shocking statistic considering there are 89.7 million household dogs in the U.S. Obesity is a very serious problem as it can lead to major health complications. These complications include things like high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, diabetes, various forms of cancer, kidney disease, and respiratory disease. 

Besides health complications, obesity can also shorten a pet’s life expectancy. A study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, showed that the average lifespan of overweight dogs was up to two and a half years shorter compared to ideal weight dogs. Two and a half years is a long time, especially in dog years. Maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle for your pet will lead to a longer and overall happier life.

Improving Pet Health & Wellness

There are many different things you can do to improve your pet’s overall health & wellbeing. One good way is to keep a close eye on your pets’ weight. Maintaining a healthy weight will decrease your pets’ chance of developing a disease or health problem. For dogs, the best way to maintain a healthy weight is to take them on routine walks. This daily exercise will help shed the excess weight and keep it off. For cats, try engaging with them on a daily basis such as playing or running around the house. Any extra cardio will help them maintain a healthy weight. 

Additionally, we recommend scheduling out your routine checkups at your local veterinarian. Most pets should receive a routine checkup on an annual basis or every six months. These routine checkups help you keep a close eye on your pets’ overall health and wellness. They also help you catch a potential health problem before it becomes a serious, untreatable issue. 

Lastly, we recommend paying especially close attention to what your pets are eating. Diet and nutrition play an essential role when it comes to your pets’ overall health. The better quality food your pets are eating, the healthier and happier they will be. Always look at the ingredients list of your pet’s food and avoid products with unhealthy ingredients. For more information on what to look for on pet food nutrition labels, click here. Additionally, talk to your veterinarian about what the ideal diet is for your pets. Every pet is unique and their nutritional needs may vary on a case-by-case basis. 

A professional dog walker

A professional dog walker

Hire A Pet Sitter Or Dog Walker Today

National Pet Wellness Month focuses on the health & well-being of our pets. But, pets need more than just diet & exercise to be happy. They also need stimulation and social interaction too. The best way to keep your pets happy and sociable is to hire a pet sitter! Long Island Pet Services is the best place to turn to for professional, quality pet sitting services. We offer a wide variety of services including dog walking, drop-in visits, overnight stays, pet taxi, and more! Click here to become a client today or give us a call at 516-247-6976. We look forward to hearing from you!