For many of us, pets are our family and we just can’t imagine life without them. We speak to the experts at Lily’s Kitchen about the importance of pets and how to help your pet live longer.
Whether it’s a cat snuggled up cosily on your lap, or a dog happily keeping you company on a walk; pets often make us feel complete, and we’d love them to live to 100! Of course, we’re talking about human years here. In pet years, the equivalent of a 100-year-old person for cats is around 20 and for small dogs also 20, and larger dogs 7-8 years. Twenty years of unconditional affection from our furry companions sounds marvellous. So how do we help our pets feeling younger for longer?
Take a holistic approach
Looking after your pet holistically means making sure they’re happy and healthy physically, as well as emotionally. It also means looking after all aspects of their everyday life—from their daily exercise to where they sleep, preventative healthcare and of course their diet.
How exactly you care for your dog or cat depends on your—and their—lifestyle (if you go out to work or if you have several pets, for example). So, caring for your pet holistically can be anything from making sure your dog has visits from doggy day care, that your indoor cat has an indoor climbing frame and scratching post, or it could be something as simple as positioning your dog’s bed somewhere free from drafts. This is just one approach that can help your pet live longer.
Good food is the foundation of good health
Nutrition and what you feed your pet plays a vital role in their holistic health. Enjoying their food is just as important to them as having a good source of ‘fuel’—who wants to eat the same boring meal everyday? You will have the best chance to help your pet live longer, to a ripe old age if you feed them a natural, wholesome, nutritious diet that supports their health. After all, we all know a balanced diet is key to staying in tip-top condition, inside and out. A diet of freshly prepared meat and organic fruit and vegetables will contain a wide range of helpful antioxidants, vitamins and minerals to support health, and keep your pet feeling spritely well into their wise and wonderful years.
Choose a good quality food
Your cat or dog’s diet should be made up of high quality, recognisable ingredients. Make sure that you can understand every ingredient listed on the label—if it doesn’t sound quite right, it’s probably not! Signs that your pet isn’t on the best diet for them might be that they’re lacking in energy, have a lacklustre coat, shedding fur, and they may have dry, or even greasy skin. They could have trouble with wind and unhealthy stools too.
So what should you be looking for in prepared pet food? Well, firstly, think natural and nutritious. Holistic vet, Holly Mash advises, “If your pet eats a natural diet from a high quality brand they should experience fewer trips to the vet over their lifetime”. Look for high fresh meat content and a food, which uses only the highest quality, human grade meat. No dried meats or meat meal, which often contains a high percentage of carcass and so is difficult to digest. It’s also important that their food is free from artificial additives, cheap fillers (like corn, maize or wheat), preservatives and other unnecessary ‘nasties’. Cutting these out can be especially beneficial for pets with allergies and sensitivities, and may help with hyperactivity and other related behavioural issues—in the long run to help your pet live longer.
See also: Owning a Pet 'May Help You Live Longer'
Make any dietary changes gradually
Any sudden changes to your pet’s diet can bring on an upset tummy so if you are introducing a new diet, do it slowly over a week or more, gradually substituting a little of their original food for their new one, until they are completely switched over. Of course, if your pet is on any specific prescription diet or has any health issues, it’s always best to speak to your vet first. Cats tend to be fussier eaters than dogs, and that’s because taste and texture preferences in cats are shaped in early kittenhood. Many pet food brands also use palatability enhancers which cats become addicted to (leading to overeating and obesity), so changing to a kinder, more natural diet can sometimes take a little more time.
Enjoy your time together
Time spent with you is what most of our dogs and cats love best. And that’s the best reward we can give them. So giving them the attention they need, looking after their overall wellbeing and choosing the best food for their nutrition is the perfect way for your four-legged friend to live a happier, healthier—and hopefully longer—life.
About Lily’s Kitchen:
Lily’s Kitchen creates natural, delicious, wholesome food for dogs and cats because our pets deserve to eat proper food full of nourishing ingredients. Nutritious recipes full of freshly prepared meat, vegetables, fruits, healthy herbs and botanicals. No meat meals, animal derivatives, fillers, artificial additives, preservatives, colours or flavours—ever. To find out more about Lily’s Kitchen, or for help introducing your pet to a more natural diet, visit lilyskitchen.co.uk. Use the code, DRHILARY17 to receive 10% off your first £30 order with them.
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