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It was recently reported that over 50% of adults in the UK own a cat or a dog, or both. With this number steadily growing and as a nation who have an undeniable love for our four-legged companions, we are still often met with health questions along the way.
More than half of UK dogs are overweight and around 85% of our feline friends will suffer with some sort of dental disease before they even reach their senior years.
At Canagan, we live, breath and sleep-talk pet health; working to help you all daily with your health concerns and of course, researching our companion’s nutritional requirements as and when new research is released.
So, what can we do to help our companions? Quite a lot actually!
DIET & NUTRITION
Providing your companion with a healthy and nutritious diet is one of the most important ways you can support their health and wellbeing, it can mean the difference between a long and healthy life or a shorter one that’s filled with uncomfortable, and sometimes painful ailments – that can be very expensive to treat.
At Canagan, the home to natural grain-free pet food, we have been studying nutrition in our pets for over thirty years. We’ve found that by feeding our companions a grain-free food, with fresh ingredients and by working closely with their requirements; to find the correct balance of meat to vegetables whilst complementing with oils, joint care, pre-biotics and more, we can help our friends to live a nourished and contented life.
When choosing a diet, it’s a good idea to make sure that the food caters to your friend’s individual needs, taking into consideration their age, or perhaps if they are suffering from an ailment that has been caused by food. Ailments that could be food related may be seen in:
- Skin & Coat Conditions
- Digestive problems & flatulence
- Body odour & bad breath
- Excessive shedding & hair loss
- Obesity or weight loss
- Increased allergies
- Irritability, bad behaviour & hyperactivity
We recommend reading the food label to check if the ingredients stated will feed and worsen your friend’s ailments or help to heal them.
If you’re not sure how to read labels, pop to your local pet shop and speak to a specialist. You can also send our customer service team a message, and of course read one of our previous blogs; like the very popular: What should I feed my dog?
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EXERCISE & MENTAL STIMULATION
It should come as no surprise at how important exercise is for your companions; it comes naturally to them, providing them with exploration, scent enjoyment, socialisation and much more. When considering your friend’s exercise levels, it is recommended that the daily amount for most dogs is 30 minutes to 2 hours, although there are exceptions.
We recommend researching your breed, for an indication of the level of exercise that would be suited to them and then experimenting with your hound, to find the right level. A good indication that your pup requires more can be seen in destructive behaviour and trying to initiate play a lot in the evenings. Whereas, if your dog is sleeping when you are and notably calmer in the evening, you’re on the right track. You may also find that by tuning into your dog’s exercise requirements, that behavioural issues and training is easier to control too.
The same routine every day is just as boring for our companion as it is for us, so finding new ways to stimulate your friends will help keep their mind happy and healthy and it may help with any behaviour issues that you are experiencing.
Learning basic commands, tricks and mental challenges will help to build a strong bond between you and your friend and provide enjoyment for the two of you. So why not check out the internet, a book or speak with your local pet shop for some ideas.
If you’re looking for more interaction with your pets, why not try the below?
- Introduce a new toy, and rotate the ones you already have
- Play with interactive games and toys – your local pet shop can help here
- Try working on a new trick together
Even our cats of the family will be sure to enjoy all of the above, for felines try a catnip spray to freshen up their toys and find at least 5-10 minutes per day for play. A recent study found that when cats eat a high-quality meat diet, alike to Canagan, and teamed with ‘hunt-like’ play; it reduced the need to hunt. Interesting, huh?!
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Did you know that over 80% of dogs will experience some kind of dental disease before the age of three, and for cats before the age of seven? What a number! As pet lovers and owners, we know first-hand how hard can be to care for our friend’s dental hygiene, but by taking care early on, it will minimise the effects and get our friends used to a routine.
Clearly, we are not taking dental hygiene seriously enough for our companions, and if left it can develop into plaque, tartar, gingivitis and even tooth extraction all of which is not only very painful but expensive too. We recommend reading our blog ‘How to look after your dog’s teeth’ for further advice.
KEEP THINGS NATURAL
We like to do things naturally at Canagan, that’s why we choose to preserve our diets with Vitamin E, unlike many other well-known foods who use chemicals to extend their shelf life. Using a chemical preservative can have harmful side-effects, so as pet lovers, we would rather avoid chemicals.
Potential side-effects of chemicals:
- Skin problems
- Nervous disorders
- Digestive issues
- Possible carcinogenic
There are now many choices on the market for chews, treats, medicine and more that are a natural option for our companions to enjoy.
Why not speak with your local pet shop about their wonderfully delicious natural selection.
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HEALTH CARE & CHECKS
There are many challenges facing us and our companion’s health, some are relatively simple to control and can be helped by your VET or local pet shop with a quick and easy tablet or natural spray. It’s important to find the right treatment for you and to seek advice when you’re not sure about a symptom or behaviour.
- Check-ups & Visits
- Pet Shops
When you feed your friends a great diet, and follow the health advice we’ve given you here, you’ll find that your VET visits will naturally decrease; but that’s not to say they should be avoided. Keep on top of your check-ups, and your own research but if you’re not sure – visit your VET, not just the internet!
VETs aren’t the only professionals you could seek help from, our trusted pet shop owners are not only passionate about our companions, but you may find your local shop is able to provide you with honest and credible advice, especially on the products they sell, alternatives and nutrition.
There are many positives to grooming your companions, and by starting them on a routine early on it will help your companion to enjoy the interaction. Start by touching your friend’s feet, and then simply brushing through their coat with a pet friendly brush, you can then progress onto other areas of the body.
When we don’t groom, we can experience serious side effects which can lead to discomfort for your companions, and expensive trips to the vet.
Detection and prevention of more serious problems can be found when you groom your pet; lumps and bumps may be picked up, which can then be monitored whilst working with your vet.
Dental disease affects many of our companions in the UK, in fact a very large percentage of our friends will experience some form of dental disease before they reach their twilight years. Preventative action is key, and by caring for your friend’s teeth daily you could reduce the effects of bad breath, tooth loss and even damage to your friend’s internal organs.
Matting of the fur can be painful and can cause skin and coat conditions and even restrict our friend’s mobility. It’s important to help keep our companions clean and brushed, especially if they have a long coat.
Nails should be kept trim and free from the paw pad. If you’re not confident in trimming your own pet’s nails, speak with your groomer, local pet shop or vet.
Fleas, ticks and mites like to take up residence in our homes, hitching a ride with our companions. By cleaning and caring for your pet correctly it is easier to keep these mites at bay and to spot them early on.
Dogs can be socialised at any time of life, socialisation involves creating positive social interactions with other dogs, children, vets, adults and other animals.
It doesn’t just stop there, you can help your friend with the hoover, storms, traffic and strange environments; all will aid you and your friend to enjoy positive experiences in life.
Although we recommend socialising and working with your companion when they’re a puppy, all is not lost with an older friend. We recommend taking the time to speak with a dog trainer, read articles, books and chatting to your local pet shop for advice. Training your companion and working on their socialisation can help to create a strong bond and make for a much happier pet.
Keeping our pets as safe as possible is of course a top priority to any good pet owner. There are many health concerns to consider when it comes to our friend’s environment, we’ve covered a few here but we recommend speaking with your local pet shop, doing your own research and being aware of potential threats to your companions in your area.
- In the house - toxins in the form of food, plants and chemicals. Make sure you’re aware of these in your home and keep them out of reach to your pets.
- On a walk - train your dog to have good recall, watch out for other dogs and know what to do if you’re met with hound who isn’t friendly
- Seasonal - the change of weather must be considered for our friends’ comfort and health, for example, walking in the hot sun could be dangerous for your companion and when the Winter comes, you may require a coat for your dog’s walkies
- Theft - dog theft is on the rise, in fact in 2020 it was higher than ever. Our worst nightmare is a stolen or lost dog but there are measures you can take to help prevent or be prepared. Do your research!
- Water safety - swimming is a lot of fun when you’re a dog, but we must make sure that our companions are safe. Watch out for: tides and currents, depth, algae and cleanliness of the water and anything that could be hazardous under the surface
- Driving with pets - there are many ways to travel with your pets, some people choose crates and others like to use specialised belts. It’s best to do your research and speak with your local pet specialist at the pet shop to see your options and what suits your family and your vehicle.
Never leave your companions in the car alone for long periods of time, especially on warm and hot days.
One of the best parts of owning a companion is the friendship, love and affection that we share together. Affection is very important to our companion’s mental wellbeing and the bond that we share together. Showing affection can be shown through cuddling, play, praise, talking, touching and more.
If you’re wondering how your friend shows you love, it can be seen lovingly through eye contact, nosing, licking, sighing, leaning, rolling and much more. Lovely!
Of course, our blog can’t possibly cover all aspect of pet health. Our best and most important advice we can give you is to ‘Ask Questions’ – when in doubt, visit your local pet shop or speak with your VET. No matter how big or how small, when we ask questions early it can make a big difference to our friend’s health and wellbeing.
*The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian or other qualified pet health provider with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s health*