Make a New Year’s Resolution for a Healthier Pet

12/31/14

Make a New Year’s Resolution for a Healthier Pet

This is the time of year when many of us are thinking about our New Years' resolutions – what we can do to help live a healthier life.

This year, while you’re thinking about what resolutions you can make for your own health, why not do the same for your best friend? Make a resolution to take better care of your pet this next year. That’s a resolution that will benefit not only your pet, but you as well, by assuring that your pet will live a longer and happier life.

The great thing about this kind of resolution is that it’s so much easier to keep a resolution for your pet than it is for yourself. Let’s face it, compared to us, pets are pretty easy to care for – give them love, exercise and a good diet, and you’re pretty much done.

The love part is easy. The exercise takes a little more commitment of time –but it’s quality time (and probably good for you as well as your pet).

The diet part is probably the hardest of the three – but it’s the most important. After all, the old saying “you are what you eat” holds true for our pets as well as for us. If you’re thinking of improving your own diet – getting off processed foods and eating more whole foods, why not think about doing the same for your pet?

There’s no better time than the New Year to start on the path for better health – for both you and your pet.

OK, so you’ve made the decision to take better care of your pet this year, and to feed it a healthier diet. What next?

For some pet owners, this means moving up to a better grade of kibble – and that can certainly help. But increasingly, many pet owners are making the decision to take their pets off processed food entirely, and feed them a natural “species-appropriate” diet – fresh meat and vegetables and minimal processing.

This is a goal that many people set for themselves each year. The good news is that in many ways, it’s easier to accomplish this for our pets than it is for ourselves – after all, we can control our pet’s temptations more easily than we can control our own!

While it used to be that if you wanted to feed your pet a fresh “raw food” diet, you had to make it yourself. That took a big commitment of time and energy – after all, most people have trouble finding time to cook for themselves, let alone their pet.

The good news is that there are many more choices today for pet owners that want to feed their pet a fresh raw food diet. Many pet stores now stock raw pet foods in their freezers. And for the ultimate in convenience, some companies will customize a meal plan for your dog or cat and deliver it right to your door!

When considering a raw food diet for your pet, keep in mind the following:

  • It all starts with the ingredients – make sure the brand you’re considering uses human-quality meats and vegetables. Some companies go a step further and use free-range meats and /or organic vegetables
  • Make sure that the meals are complete and balanced – the label should guarantee that the meals adhere to the standards set by the American Association of Feed Control Officers (AAFCO), which sets standards for pet foods
  • Make sure the meals are fresh. Check the date on the package to see when it was produced – even frozen foods degrade over time. And don’t be fooled by “use-by” dates, which can be as much as a year out. Another advantage of purchasing from a company that delivers to your home is that you know that your pet’s meals haven’t been sitting in the retailer’s freezer for too long.
  • It’s also important you know where the farms supplying your meats are coming from. This ensures that the animals are treated humanely and are free range, cage-free and hormone-free.

Whatever choice you take, why not make this the year that you make the commitment to better health for your pet, starting with better nutrition? It’s one resolution that will pay dividends for years to come. And your best friend will thank you for it.

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