ALL CHANGES LARGE AND SMALL: 5 EASY “RESOLUTIONS” YOU CAN MAKE FOR YOUR PET IN 2014

I have a love/hate relationship with the New Year.

I love the possibilities, the newness, the optimism that comes with 365 brand spanking new days to do brand spanking new things.

I hate the pressure (very often self imposed) with making those brand spanking new things happen. It can feel overwhelming.

And of course, amidst my many personal New Year’s Resolutions, there are things I want to do better for my pets. If I’m going to “be better” this year, shouldn’t I do better for my pets?

So I’m going about my resolutions for my pets a little differently this year. Little changes can make a big difference. Not everything has to be a grand gesture that is not feasible to maintain — either time, money, or energy wise.

Maybe this is the year you can make a few, or a couple, or even just one healthy, positive change for your pet?

So to give you some ideas, here are some simple changes or additions you can make to your pet’s life this year that won’t break the bank or your back.

As animal lovers we embrace “all creatures, great and small”. This year, let’s embrace all CHANGES great and small!

5 Simple Changes You Can For Your Pet in 2014

1. Add a Fish Oil Containing Omega 3 and Omega 6 to Your Pet’s Diet

It’s amazing how many benefits a little bit of fish oil in your dog or cat’s diet can have. Just a small amount — anywhere from 1/2 a teaspoon to a tablespoon, depending on the size of your pet (always follow dosage instructions) — can make a difference in the health of your pet over their life. A fish oil with a balanced amount of Omega 3’s and Omega 6’s can serve your pet in many ways including:

  • brain, heart and eye health

  • joint health

  • anti-inflammatory properties (aids in tissue health and recuperation, causing less discomfort from injuries, aging)

  • healthy skin and coat

  • immune system benefits

The correct dosage of fish oil every day in your pet’s food, can make a huge difference in the happiness and health of your pet for the rest of their life. Most fish oils are easily fed to your pet in a liquid or capsule form, a favorite of ours is made by Nordic Naturals.

2. Add a Raw Boost to Your Pet’s Food

Just because you want to feed your pet better doesn’t necessarily mean you have to spend a lot more.

A lot of people shy away from even the thought of raw, or a dehydrated/freeze dried raw food, because it just seems to costly, daunting, or time consuming.

However, we believe you can have the best of both worlds. Try adding a raw food topper to your pet’s dry food/kibble.

The simplest way to do this would be to buy a bag of freeze dried raw food (Stella & Chewy or Primal Freeze Dried are good foods to start with), and crumble a small amount over the top of your pet’s food. Et voila! You’ve just added raw food to your pets diet!

You can even take it one simple step further and rehydrate that freeze dried raw, then add it to your pet’s kibble for some extra moisture (which most pets are sorely missing).

And if handling even freeze dried raw meat gives you the heebie jeebies (it’s okay, it took me a long time to get used to it too!), try Real Meat’s Pet Food Seasoning. It’s a mixed meat air dried raw topper (make sure your pet can eat all the meats in the mix before feeding) that also contains Diatomaceous Earth — a natural parasite remedy. You can feed it dry, or even add water to it, making it really stick to your pet’s kibble. Yum! Plus, it comes in a convenient shaker so you’ll never have to actually touch the meat, and cats and dogs seem to love it!

The good thing about feeding a raw topper is:

  1. It’s simple. If you’re only using a little bit of raw a day, a bag of freeze dried, or raw sprinkles, will last you for quite a while if stored properly.

  2. Your pet gets some of the benefits of raw (improved nutrient absorption, gut health, improved dental health, among others) without having to worry about thawing and handling raw meat.

  3. This “boost” to your pet’s food can help renew your pet’s interest in food if they have become bored, or picky with their eating habits.

3. Upgrade Your Pet’s Treat

Another way to get a little a little “boost” of nutrition into your pet’s diet is through treats.

If you’re giving your pet a great food, but are sort of “slacking” in the treat department, 2014 could be a great year to change that.

Does your dog have an “addiction” to dental chews that aren’t fully digestible or occasionally gives them an upset stomach? Find a dental chew that is healthy or both your dog’s teeth AND tummy!

Are you not sure where your pet’s favorite chicken treats are sourced? Find a treat you know FOR

SURE is USA made and sourced (we can help you)!

Want to introduce a more novel or unusual protein into your pet’s diet but aren’t sure if they’ll like it? Try a new, healthy treat! A limited ingredient or freeze dried treat can be a great way to try out a new protein like fish or pork or venison, on your pet.

4. Commit to Your Pet’s Oral Health

I know, I know, dental care is one of the top issues that gives our customers anxiety. “My dog/cat won’t let me brush their teeth! Their breath is so bad! I know I should…but I’m not sure how!”

Well it doesn’t have to be so dire.

If brushing your pet’s teeth is risking loss of life and limb, you do have simple, easy options to keep your pet’s mouth healthier.

First there are sprays. There are dental sprays that when sprayed onto your pet’s teeth will help fight tartar and plaque, as well as bad breath.

If even getting that close to your pet’s mouth is out of the question, you could try a water additive. Add a small amount of the additive to your pet’s drinking water to fight tartar buildup. All you have to do is be consistent about adding it to your pet’s water, and it is a good way to help your pet’s teeth stay a little healthier.

Lastly, you could add a powder to your pet’s food that aids in oral health. Just add a small amount to your pet’s food and the enzymes and additives go to work helping to keep your pet’s teeth cleaner.

Note that NONE of the above replaces brushing your pet’s teeth and regular dental cleanings with your vet or a licensed pet teeth cleaning technician. However, these small additions to your pet’s routine (if teeth brushing just ain’t going to happen) can make a big difference in your pet’s overall health — oral and otherwise.

5. Water, Water, Everywhere

Alright, not everywhere, but a lot more of it.

Just like people, many pets are chronically dehydrated. As your pet ages this can lead to kidney, bladder, and urinary tract issues, among other issues. This is especially prevalent in cats who have a “low thirst drive”.

In the New Year, why not make a conscious effort to get more moisture into your pet’s diet? It can be a virtually cost free way to make a big difference in their life.

Some simple ways to add more water into your pet’s diet include:

  • Add water into your pet’s kibble. You may have to start slow and add water little by little, but it’s a great way to get them more hydrated.

  • Make water tasty. The Honest Kitchen makes “Ice Pups”, a dehydrated mix that you add into water to make a “sorbet” (or a broth, depending on whether you want a frosty or warm treat). Suitable for cats and dogs, “Ice Pups” are a great way to make water tastier for pets.

  • Try goat’s milk. Well, try The Honest Kitchen’s Pro Bloom Goat’s Milk. Most dogs and cats can’t handle milk (lactose intolerance!), but Pro Bloom is a specially formulated goat’s milk mix with lots of digestive enzymes and probiotics that is not only great for your pet’s gut health, but also deliciously appealing! Not only is this a great way to give your pet more liquid, disguised as a treat, but it serves double duty in introducing some probiotics into their diet. This can be especially healthful if your pet has recently undergone a round of antibiotics.

  • Make water appealing. My cat only likes to drink water that she THINKS is my water i.e. water from a drinking glass. So she drinks water out of a wide-mouthed drinking glass that is just for her. Now she drinks more than a glass of water a day. Is your pet drawn to running water? Will they only drink out of certain types of containers? Do they prefer icy water? Room temperature water? I say, if it doesn’t drive you too bonkers, figure out how your pet likes to drink water and try to accommodate them. (I once had a dog whose night time “treat” was a long drink from the bath tub faucet. Go figure.)

BONUS TIP!

To optimize your pet’s gut health, add a probiotic to their diet!

For dogs, this can be as simple as adding plain — no sugar, no salt, no flavoring of any kind — yogurt to your pet’s meal once a day. For smaller dogs, under 25 pounds, work up to about a teaspoon or teaspoon and a half. For Dogs over 25 pounds, work up to about a tablespoon. Remember, WORK UP TO THE FULL AMOUNT OF YOGURT. If you give too much too soon, you could give them an upset stomach. Start with a quarter of the amount, and work up a little bit everyday until you get to the full dosage.

I personally would not recommend feeding yogurt to your cat, as not all cats can tolerate it.

Another way to add probiotics to your dog or cat’s diet is to get a probiotic supplement made specifically for pets. Again The Honest Kitchen’s Pro Bloom Goat’s Milk is a great probiotic option for both dogs and cats, and some of Real Meat’s Pet Food Seasoning comes with added probiotics. 2 products that accomplish 2 goals, for the price of one. What could be simpler?

If your pet has been having tummy troubles lately (bloating, diarrhea), probiotics may be just what they need.

Some benefits of adding a probiotic to your pet’s diet are:

  • healthy digestion and absorption of nutrients

  • remedy to constipation or diarrhea

  • battling yeast issues (signs of a yeast problem include but are not limited to itching, hot spots, yeasty odor, darkened skin, biting at paws, and eye stains)

So there you have it. Try all of the above, mix and match, try one, or be inspired to try none and come up with your own!

Whether you’re making changes large or small for you and/or your pet, we wish you the best of luck in your endeavors and hope we can help along the way!

Happy New Year!

~Your Loyal Calvin & Susie Blogger

As always, check with your vet before making any changes to your pet’s diet or body care. The Calvin & Susie Blogger always researches to the best of her ability, but she is not a vet. This blog is not in any way meant to replace veterinary advice or care. When in doubt always ask a vet.

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