Level Up Your H2O
You probably fill up your pet’s water bowl from the faucet every morning without a thought, right? Here’s a zero-effort move that can make a big difference: Add a PUR faucet filter to your kitchen sink. It takes next to no thought, and it’s certified to reduce more than 70 contaminants that could be lurking in your tap water, including lead, mercury, and certain pesticides, as well as chlorine — more than any other brand. So you can watch your fur baby happily lap from her bowl with the confidence that what she’s slurping is as clean as possible. And just like the human members of your gang, your pet is apt to swig more water — and stay hydrated and healthy in the summer heat — when it tastes great.
Get Moving Together
While those daily walks are vital, inserting more play into your pooch’s routine this summer can have a potent effect on his emotional and physical health. In fact, exercise can also help mitigate or solve 90 percent of unwanted dog behaviors such as digging and chewing. The best plan? Exercise with your four-legged friend. Dogs were bred for thousands of years to work and live with humans, so they actually require regular interaction with people, according to Zak George, the No. 1 dog trainer on YouTube and author of the bestseller Zak George’s Dog Training Revolution and the upcoming Zak George’s Guide to a Well-Behaved Dog. An old-fashioned round of fetch is the absolute best way to satisfy a dog both mentally and physically, according to George. Hikes, long walks, and sports such as Flyball and Frisbee also fit the bill.
Help Them Eat Clean
Filling up on preservatives and other chemicals is a hard no if you want to stay fit and healthy — and the same goes for your pet. Instead of grabbing a bag that’s chock full of the artificial stuff, choose foods that use fresh, whole ingredients and avoid anything highly processed. Your best bet: Foods with fewer ingredients and those that list a protein like chicken or fish first, advises Bruce Tannenbaum, DVM, a veterinarian in South Florida who has been practicing for almost 40 years. Make sure your pet’s chow includes a statement of nutritional adequacy as well as a guaranteed analysis (a percentage of the nutrients found in it). “Work with your vet to make sure your pet is getting the right amount of calories and nutrition based on his or her age, size, health, and other dietary needs,” recommends Dr. Tannenbaum.
Schedule Well Visits
Of course, if your pet gets sick or injured, you’d head straight to the vet. But it’s also critical to keep up with annual vet visits, too — something a lot of owners fail to do, particularly during the vacation-heavy months of summer. “Routine well visits can help catch minor illnesses or infections early before your pet is symptomatic, so you can then make changes to help prevent such illnesses and infections from becoming serious,” Dr. Tanenbaum explains.
Restock the Toy Shelf
Know how your kids are issued a summer reading list to keep them from backsliding during the summer? Cats and dogs also need mental stimulation all year round. Challenge your furry friends with the right toys to ensure they don’t become bored (translation: destructive).
Choose toys that are durable and sized right — large enough that your dog can’t choke, but not so big that they can’t get their mouth around it. Got a chewer? Find toys described as “ultra-durable” or similar. Check out various squeakies, bones, tug toys, and balls until you find a couple your dog loves.
For cats, appeal to their predatory instincts with playthings that simulate the hunt. A toy bird or squirrel is likely to be a hit, as is a laser pointer, a feather wand, or anything they’ll enjoy chasing.
Upgrade Your Bowls
Mealtime isn’t just about serving the right food and water — what you put them in also matters. The goal is to keep things as natural as possible, so eliminating preservatives from food, contaminants from water (a PUR faucet filter is a great option) and chemicals from his bowl is key. Avoid plastic dishes, because they’re apt to have chemicals that can leach into food, and your dog may be allergic to the dyes that are used to color them. (Plus, if you have a dog who likes to chew, the plastic can chip into tiny pieces your pet can swallow.) Stainless steel is a great bet for bowls because it’s durable. If you choose ceramic, make sure it doesn’t contain lead. Keep your pet’s bowl filled with PUR filtered tap water and he’ll stay happy and hydrated — this summer, and all year through!
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