Pets are also called companion animals because they provide good company and are wonderful friends and family members. Pets are always there to listen to you when you are sad, play with you when you are happy, and enjoy relaxing with you when you have had a long day. Many people say that their pet is their best friend. That is why it is so important when you choose a pet that you make sure you pick the right one for you and your family.
Pets are a big responsibility. They depend on their guardians to keep them happy and healthy for their entire lives. Pets need good food, water, exercise and playtime, a cozy place to sleep, and a lot of love.
Pets can take up a lot of space, time, and money so before your family decides to bring a companion animal home, take some time to think about some of the questions below with your family.
Why do you want a companion animal?
Sometimes people want an animal for the wrong reasons. Maybe they saw the movie 101 Dalmatians and want a dog like the ones in the cartoon. Or they want a tough dog to guard the house. Or they may want a cat to chase away mice from their house.
The problem with these reasons is that a dog is much more than a cartoon or home alarm system, and cats are more than mousers. They have feelings and needs, and want to be a member of the family.
No two dogs are alike. Likewise, no two dog breeds are alike, especially when it comes to their health. Dog health problems range from infections to cancers, and it’s up to the pet parents to keep their companions happy and healthy by understanding some common dog illnesses and diseases.
Depending on the size of your pup, some health problems are more prevalent than others. For instance, big dogs tend to deal with more bone and joint problems, whereas smaller dogs tend to suffer more with organ and breathing disorders. Again, each breed is unique, but it is important to understand what common dog illnesses and health issues affect your pet. See below for the most common types of dog health issues and make sure to take immediate action if you think something serious is wrong with your dog.
Your walk in the park doesn’t need to start in a chaotic, adrenaline-fuelled rush, as trainer Tony Cruse explains.
So, you’ve arrived at the park. What happens next? Is your dog so excited that he rushes up to other dogs and gets into trouble? Is he so wound up that he chases the joggers around and around… and around?
This is not a great start for a park walk and it really doesn’t have to be this way!
Previously we looked at leaving for the park and how to ensure the journey was a calm one. Hopefully, your dog is now happy in the car and not an over-wound spring upon arrival.
This time, we’re focusing on the start of your walk. If it starts in an unruffled, controlled way, the rest of it should be trouble-free and enjoyable too.
How do I read the dog food ingredient list?
Like packaged food for people, pet food must list ingredients by weight, starting with the heaviest. But if the first ingredient is a type of meat, keep in mind that meat is about 75% water, according to the FDA.
Without that water weight, the meat probably would fall lower on the ingredient list. Meat meals, such as chicken meal or meat and bone meal, are different; most of the water and fat have been removed, which concentrates the animal protein.
What are byproducts, and should I avoid dog foods that contain them?
Veterinarians say that’s a matter of personal choice. Any pet food labeled as “complete and balanced” should meet your dog’s nutritional needs.
Liver, which is a byproduct, is rich in nutrients such as vitamin A. Meat byproducts also can contain blood, bone, brains, stomachs, udders, and cleaned intestines, according to the Association of American Feed Control Officials. Byproducts don't include hair, horns, teeth, and hooves, although an exception is allowed for amounts that occur unavoidably during processing.
Ten amino acids. Twelve basic minerals. Eleven vitamins. And two kinds of fatty acids.
Whew! No question about it… there certainly are plenty of canine nutrients to think about.
What’s more… each and every one of them is considered absolutely essential… and must be present in the correct amounts… and the right proportions… in every dog food… to help keep your pet free of disease.
So, how can you be sure a particular product meets some kind of minimum dog food nutrition standards?
Think about it. Are you really prepared to check every product label to confirm the presence and quantity of each one of these vital nutrients?
Even dog food “obsessives” like me lack the time (not to mention… the patience) to perform that kind of detailed analysis.
But there’s an easier way. And dog food insiders know this label reading secret as the Nutritional Adequacy Statement.
Now, once you know what it is… and where to find it… you can use this simple shortcut to instantly screen any dog food for proper vitamin and mineral content.