A pet specialist provides health insights

Patsy Keith is a retired vet and animal health expert. Continuing our theme of pet health she explains that keeping your household pet healthy doesn’t just require outdoor activity but often love and care on a daily basis.
Patsy, why did you decide to dedicate your life to animals and pet health?

I, like so many others, have found great loyalty in the animals I have worked with and looked after. People get confused about animal and pet health because they assume that they must take a dog out for a long walk or ensure that their cat is left outdoors at certain times. While this is true there are many activities you can do inside particularly during the colder months.
Regular play and monitoring things like your companions dental care should also be considered. Keeping your household pet happy and providing them with the necessary food is vital too.

Do you think that people know enough about pet health?

It’s a very good question and one that remains open for debate I think. Sometimes the reality when a pet arrives is different to how one might have imagined beforehand. Animals are very in tune with human emotions and therefore have to be stimulated in a similar way. Keep your pet healthy by introducing things like pet toys or provide them with healthy treats. A lot of the time it’s common sense really.

The thing about a household pet is that they require time, attention, responsibility and ultimately they carry the same health risks as humans. When this is accepted by pet owners animals will live happier and healthy lifestyles.
It’s not just the animals that benefit either is it?

Several organisations have conducted research over the years in order to see if a pet’s well-being can be linked to human health. And I think it’s probably true. We already know that people who have heart issues or a recovering from a stroke are encouraged to do more with their dogs. Having a pet is also a good way of helping people deal with a loss or mental health issues like anxiety and depression. It’s incredibly beneficial.
Have you any pet health tips for 2016?

I’m not sure if everyone is aware but in April it will be compulsory for all dogs in England to be micro-chipped. A collar or tag, especially if they are outdoors for hours, could fall off so a microchip is a more permanent way of identifying your dog. What’s the link to health I hear you ask? Well if your dog is lost or distressed it probably stands a greater chance of being returned to its owner where it will be happy if a microchip is added. I think it’s a great idea.

And finally, do you have any pet health tips of your own?

Routine, regular activity (be it a walk or whatever) and a healthy diet. Master these three and your pet stands a great chance of living a healthy life in my opinion. What do you do to ensure that you are happy and healthy? Well apply it to your pet. Sometimes we just need a hug and there’s nothing wrong with giving your pet that after a hard day.

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