We spend a lot of time wondering how our habits, either good or bad, directly affects our health but do you ever think about how they could affect your pets? Probably not. You don’t really think that your daily plate of broccoli is going to directly affect the life of your pet, but it actually might play a bigger role than you think.
Because you are the main provider and caretaker for your pets, everything that you do, or don’t do, impacts their daily life. Sometimes that is a good thing, but more often than not our bad habits can get in the way of our pet’s ability to have a healthy and happy life. Here are a few things that you know might not be the best for you but can be even more detrimental to your pet. Don’t worry, though, there are also some suggestions on how you can turn things around and keep your whole family, pets included, happy and healthy!
Your Pack-A-Day Habit
We’ll start with a big one; smoking. You know that smoking is not good for your health and you are probably aware that secondhand smoke is dangerous to all the people around you. But did you know that secondhand smoke has a huge impact on the health of your pet?
There has been extensive research lately to find out just what secondhand smoke can do to pets and it isn’t good. Animals can get cancer, allergies, skin and eye diseases, and respiratory problems. Secondhand smoke is especially dangerous for cats because they are self-groomers. They can end up ingesting harmful carcinogens and as a result, get oral cancer as well as lymphoma. Dogs who get a hold of old cigarette butts and ingest them are also at a high risk for cancer and other diseases.
What To Do: The best way to protect yourself and your pets? Stop smoking. Yes, it can be hard to quit but there are so many amazing resources that can help you crush this bad habit. Plus, you will instantly improve the quality of your life and your pets life. If you can’t quit or there are other people in your home that smoke, try to enforce the rule of no smoking in the house. This will lessen the amount of secondhand smoke that your pets are exposed to.
It might seem that not exercising would only affect your health and not your pets, but it has been shown that people who are more sedentary are less likely to exercise their pets. Your pets need to move and be active just as much as you. Dogs aren’t the only pets that like to go on walks are play fetch, cats need to run around and chase things too.
Pets aren’t immune to obesity and all the complications that come with that. More and more pets are overweight, developing diabetes, and experiencing heart disease problems. Part of the reason for that is their lack of daily activity and as their caretaker, you need to be the one to make sure they get moving.
What To Do: You don’t have to start training your pet for a marathon or make sure they are constantly moving, but you do need to start building in activity into their day. It can be as simple as taking your dog for a 15-minute walk or using a laser pointer to get your cat running around. Remembering to exercise your pets can also be a good reminder for you to get up and move around.
Your Reliance On Processed Food
Step into any grocery store and you can find just about any food product imaginable. From chicken in a can (yes, a real thing) to fruit snacks that don’t contain any fruit, processed food items are not doing your health any favors. Unfortunately, processed food just doesn’t impact people but animals as well. Most pet food is just as processed if not more than people food.
Processed food can lead to the same issues for pets as it does for humans. Obesity, diabetes, and other weight-related complications are on the rise in pets and their food is a big part of the problem.
What To Do: The first thing you should do is talk to your vet and do some research and find out exactly what your pet needs in terms of nutrition. Then take a look at the food you are currently feeding your pet. Most likely there are a lot of ingredients in there that you haven’t ever heard of and wouldn’t want to feed your pet. Try to find a brand that uses more real food than fake and doesn’t have a million ingredients.
You could also try making food for your pets. There are plenty of DIY recipes for treats for both cats and dogs and they are made with real food ingredients.
You want to give your pets the best life possible and because you are the one they look to for everything you have to be conscious of all your choices. Little things that you think might not make that big a difference can actually have a huge impact on your pet. Start today and make healthier choices for you and your pet!