Sharing your life with a pet is amazing. The joy in all the wonderful moments that animals bring to our everyday life cannot be replaced with anything else. But it also comes with a responsibility for us as pet owners - and the most important thing we can do is to make sure that our cat or dog is feeling well and in good health. Good health also provides better conditions for a long life and a vigorous old age.
During the month of January, we will focus on how you can give your pet the best conditions to be healthy and happy, and in the long term reduce the risk of diseases. We start with four tips. If you give your pet a feed with all the nutrients it needs, provide the conditions for good gastrointestinal health, keep the animal in the right body condition and take care of oral health, you have come a long way!
1. Feed with a complete and balanced pet food
Feeding time is not only the highlight of the day, it is also the source of all the important nutrients that the animal needs to get in order to be healthy, strong and prosperous. The feed must, among other things, provide protein that provides energy and building blocks for muscles, essential fatty acids that provide healthy skin and shiny fur, vitamins that fulfill important functions in the immune system and minerals such as iron that enable the blood to transport oxygen. A feed that contributes with all of this is called a complete and balanced feed. But what does that mean?
Since cats and dogs have different nutritional needs, a complete and balanced feed means different things for the different animal species. Nutrition in cats and dogs has been studied for a long time, and in Europe it is FEDIAF that regularly publishes recommendations for the various companion animal species, based on the latest research.
All of petgood's feeds are complete and balanced feeds that follow FEDIAF's guidelines, to give your animal optimal conditions for good health and supply all useful and essential nutrients.
2. Good health comes from within
Good health comes from within, but it shows on the outside! A good body condition, shiny and soft fur and a lively and cheerful mood are all signs that the animal is feeling well on the inside too. And what goes in must also come out - even the animal's faeces are an indication of the health of the animal.
Just like in humans, a lot of research in recent years has shown how a healthy intestinal flora in dogs and cats also has positive effects on the body's well-being and general immune system. The gut of both dogs and cats is full of bacteria, and those that contribute to positive health effects are generally called "the good bacteria". The more good bacteria, the more they also protect against bad bacteria that can cause disease. The bacteria thrive when they get the right "food", and the nutrients that feed the good bacteria in the gut are called prebiotics.
There are different types of prebiotics. Two that have been seen to have a positive effect on the intestinal flora in dogs and cats are FOS (fructooligosaccharides) and MOS (mannanoligosaccharides). These nutrients are found naturally in various foods. FOS is found in inulin, and MOS is found in corn and yeast. Our feed contains several ingredients that naturally contribute with FOS & MOS, to give the good intestinal bacteria optimal conditions to thrive.
Dietary fiber is also an ingredient that benefits gut health. Dietary fiber is not a nutrient that is absorbed by the body as such, as it passes through the intestine completely or partially undigested. Nevertheless, it contributes to good effects such as an increased feeling of satiety and a healthy movement of intestines and passage time of the feed. In our feed, among other ingredients, beetroot contributes with natural dietary fibre.
A healthy stomach and intestines with intestinal flora in balance favors a good immune system and can help prevent diseases.
3. Prevent obesity = prevent disease
Most of what the dog or cat eats contributes nutrition that the animal needs - but it can also be too much of the good stuff. In both dogs and cats, overweight and obesity are incredibly common. Being overweight is a risk factor for many diseases - joint problems, diabetes and urinary tract diseases are some of them. The most important thing you can do to prevent many of the most common diseases in dogs and cats is to keep the animal in the right body condition. Not to mention it also makes for a fitter and happier four-legged friend!
There is a lot to talk about on this topic, but step one is to be able to assess whether the dog or cat is in good shape. An accepted scale used is the Body Condition Score, where the animal is graded on a scale between 1-9. Below you will find the scales and guidance for an assessment for both dogs and cats, and also the appropriate action depending on where your pet is on the scale.
Body Condition Score for dog
We will dive deeper into the subject during the month of February, and talk about both feed and exercise on the topic of obesity. Exercise and movement come with many more positive health effects on the body. It can feel hard to put your pet on a diet - but it might be the most important health effort you make.
4. Take care of the dental health
Dental disease affects 8 out of 10 dogs and cats, therefore it is important to prevent these problems. Dental diseases not only cause pain and discomfort in the animal's mouth, but can also affect the animal's general health. Poor oral hygiene means constant inflammation in the body, which has been shown in the long run to also affect internal organs such as the kidneys, liver and heart. Taking care of the animal's dental health is therefore of the utmost importance for a healthy and happy dog or cat.
For those of you who have a dog, please have a look at the below video made in collaboration with Hundprat.se, where we talk about dental health and how you take care of your dog's teeth, or take a look in one of our articles below for more tips and information!