Keep your pet healthier and happier for years to come

Not only should you incorporate healthy lifestyle choices for you and your family, you should also not forget the four-legged family members. Just like people, dogs and cats are at risk of being overweight, dehydrated and inactive. As a responsible pet owner, try a few of these exercise tips from Animal Planet to get moving and stay healthy:

  • Daily walk – adding a walk in the morning and evening can definitely help dogs stay more active. Be sure to get a sturdy leash and collar to keep the dog on track. Although cats might not respond to a leash and walk, it never hurts to try.
  • Playing ball – throwing a ball, Frisbee or other item for your pet to catch is a great way to improve agility and stamina. This activity can be enjoyed indoors or out.
  • Fetching toys- much like chasing a ball, your pet may fetch toys or stuffed animals. Many toys sold today can help your pet learn key skills, too, by offering a challenge that gets rewarded by a treat.
  • Free play – whether at a designated park or with neighbor pets, let your dog and/or cat enjoy free play with other animals. It will keep them occupied and happy, plus increase their activity level.

While engaging in all this activity, don’t forget about water. According to the ASPCA, a 10 percent decrease in body levels can cause a serious illness for a dog or cat. This could happen due to overheating in the summer months, an episode of vomiting or diarrhea or increased activity levels. To avoid your pet becoming dehydrated, be sure to have fresh water available at all times. The bowl should be clean and accessible. Refill the bowl as needed and place a few around the house if you have multiple pets.

If you are worried about your pet’s nutrition, then take a look at the ingredient label. Just like there is junk food on grocery store shelves, there is junk when it comes to pet food. To help keep your pet fit and trim, look for choices that enhance coat and skin, plus offer healthy ingredients like lean protein, vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Avoid any brands with chicken or meat by-products, which means there is no way of knowing what is really in it.

As a bonus, try this healthy homemade treat recipe:

Frozen Peanut Butter Yogurt Treats

32 oz plain Greek yogurt

1 c. peanut butter (all natural with no sugar)

Melt the peanut butter in the microwave. Combine with yogurt and stir until smooth. Poor into ice cube trays or muffin pan (depending on the serving size for your pet) and freeze overnight.



Peyton Kennedy

By Peyton Kennedy

Peyton Kennedy graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Mass Communications from Auburn University. Her varied experience includes journalism, marketing, public relations and social media. She currently lives in Birmingham, Ala., with her husband Tom and dog Mosby. In her spare time, Kennedy enjoys movies, reading and Auburn football.