Nutrition and exercise play such a huge role in health, not just for humans, but for animals, as well. Our pets rely on us to make the right decisions for their health throughout their lives, and when they are aging and susceptible to pain and illness, it’s imperative that we take preventive measures and find ways to make their lives more enjoyable for every moment we are gifted with having them in our lives.

It’s important to get to know your breed of animal. The breed of a dog, for instance, will determine not only what health issues they are prone to, but their expected life span. This also helps you gauge what age they should be put on senior food. It’s imperative that dogs be put on senior food at the right age so that they can either avoid or to help delay the onset of disease, such as arthritis.

Glucosamine is extremely beneficial in helping to prevent and treat an arthritic dog. It’s recommended that you discuss using glucosamine with a veterinarian, as it is sugar based and may not be recommended for a diabetic dog. It’s also important that you give your dog the right dosage, and that needs to be discussed with a veterinarian. Warm water therapy is great for anyone with arthritis, including animals.

It still amazes me that every time I look over the list of foods that are toxic to animals and then walk into a pet store I read ingredients on food and treat packaging listing toxic ingredients. For instance, I often see garlic as an ingredient on dog food and dog treats, yet it’s classified as a toxic food for dogs. Some scientists argue a certain amount is safe, so it’s best to discuss this with a veterinarian. Garlic toxicity in dogs causes red blood cell damage.

Guinea pigs are unable to digest fats, yet you can walk into most pet stores and discover nuts in guinea pig food and treats. Alfalfa can contribute to bladder stones for guinea pigs, which is why Timothy hay is recommended instead. It’s important that pet owners do their own research and not have blind faith in companies that clearly are not educated in animal nutrition. We must always read all ingredients, be aware of what those ingredients are and determine the pet products we trust for our beloved pets.

All animals need daily exercise. Daily exercise helps keep animals flexible, healthy and happy much longer than if they do not get adequate exercise. Swimming is a great exercise, as it’s a gentle way to exercise just about every muscle in the body. Small animals should have at least one hour of play time per day, especially if they do not cohabitate with a companion.

Once you have found a veterinarian who is not opposed to holistic care — or even better, one who encourages and supports it — you have found a veterinarian who truly understands and cares about animal health. A good veterinarian will always take your pet’s age into account when choosing their care.

Improving the nutrition, proper exercise and the customized care suited for your breed of pet will help to ensure a healthier and happier animal. It is our privilege to reward all of the love and years that they have given to us with the optimal health care and the best lifestyle suited for them — and they require that even more so in their senior years.


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