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What are the signs of good health?

A healthy animal will have bright eyes, clean ears, eyes and nose and be interested in what is going on around it. The amount of food an animal eats varies a lot between individuals – if your pet’s weight remains constant then they are eating the right amount of food.  You should be concerned if your pet’s appetite or water consumption suddenly changes, or your pet suddenly starts to gain or lose weight.

When in good condition a pet’s coat should be shiny, soft and free of parasites. Animal’s skin ages (just like in people) and may become less elastic and more dry in an older pet.

How do I keep my pet in good health?

To keep your pet in good condition it must be fed a healthy diet and allowed regular exercise. Mental stimulation in the form of an interesting environment and opportunities to play are also important. A regular walk is good for dogs because it provides exercise as well as mental stimulation.

Coat condition can be affected by diet. A complete veterinary pet food may help improve a dry coat. Groom your pet every day with a soft brush.

How much exercise does my pet need?

Regular exercise is important to keep all animals healthy. Most cats are good at regulating their exercise and match their food intake to their energy needs; dogs are less good at this. Excitable dogs may continue to exercise until they collapse if they are not well, and older dogs put on weight as their appetite remains unchanged despite a reduced energy requirement.

If your pet is showing signs of stiffness when they get up from rest they may be getting arthritis. If so the exercise programme should be altered accordingly. Regular short walks will allow your pet to maintain mobility better if they are arthritic. If your pet is overweight then a diet may help improve its condition and allow it to exercise better.  A nurse or vet can discuss your pets diet with you.

What is a healthy diet?

A healthy diet is a balanced diet containing all the nutrients your pet requires. Dietary requirements change with age and may also be affected if your pet is suffering from some diseases. As pets get older they may lose muscle mass and gain weight more easily. Overweight animals have a higher risk of diseases such as arthritis, heart disease and diabetes. Check your pet’s weight every 6 months to make sure it is not overweight and prevent excessive weight gain by cutting back on calories if your pet’s weight increases.