If you've ever been a pet owner, you know that your furry friend instantly becomes an extension of your family.
Although some might say that caring for a pet is a chore, think of it as a way of looking out for your best friend.
You wouldn't let your friend's overall well-being suffer, so it makes sense that we wouldn't let our pets suffer either.
Similar to humans, animals are bound to experience health issues at some point in their lives. Life's ruff. The tricky part is that not all health issues are as noticeable as weight loss or weight gain.
Whether it's an internal digestive issue or inflammatory arthritis in their joints, it's important that you notice when your pet's health is suffering.
So, what can you look out for to ensure your pet is healthy and happy?
1. They are catching too many ZZZ's.
If you notice that your pet seems rather lethargic, it may be due to the simple fact that they haven't received the proper amount of exercise. With that being said, it's important to know how much your pet sleeps on average.
For example, on average, cats sleep for about 12 to 16 hours a day, which is much more than dogs sleep on average. Knowing this will allow you to know what's “normal” and what's not.
Seemingly a no-brainer, but making sure animals get the right amount of exercise or play is key. Exercising is essential to make sure your pet maintains a healthy digestive system, diet, agility and mental stimulation. These are all factors that may directly affect mental health, lethargy or uncooperative behavior in your pet.
2. They have a noticeable limp.
Changes in physical behavior (subtle or not) could mean that your pet may be suffering from internal pain or health issues.
Limping, allergy symptoms, skin discoloration, wincing or even bald spots are red flags when it comes to making sure your pet is happy and healthy!
Some illnesses are more difficult to notice, as they might not be apparent right away. Diseases such as cancer or Lyme disease may inflict severe pain or inflammatory arthritis within your pet's joints.
Generally, it's easy to tell whether our furry friends are in pain, but if there's an internal health issue, it's important to keep an eye out for any unusual physicality and give your pet regular vet check-ups.
3. There is a change in personality.
Having keen understandings of our animals' personalities are one of the many reasons that we continue to fall in love with them. However, various types of pets can adhere to psychological disorders that relate back to drastic behavior.
Extreme hamster hoarding and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) in cats are examples of the consequences from attitudinal disorders.
Just as we relieve stress from our jam-packed schedules by spending quality time with our furry companions, sometimes they need TLC for anxiety relief, too.
If you notice these behaviors, consider adding a supplement to their nutritional regimen that helps alleviate stress or anxiety.
4. Their nose is dry.
As mentioned, excessive amounts of sleep strongly indicate that your pet needs a lifestyle change.
Have you checked the wetness of your dog's nose lately? Can you tell if your cat's joints are too tight? Perhaps your pet's water level is too low.
Staying hydrated is vital for healthy bowel movement, joint movement, urination, organ function and overall general lifestyle.
Wherever they get water, make sure it's safe to drink and always available to them.
5. Knowing your pet's history
Whether a breeder introduced you to your pet or you fell in love with your furry friend at a rescue center, you should always be mindful of your pet's background.
For example, some rescue animals may have experienced malnutrition, neglect, abuse or other trauma-induced issues.
This means that they might need specialized treatment or special surroundings to heal.
Understanding this onward from adoption requires giving your pet patience and unconditional love for an unbreakable bond of happiness and health.
Having a furry companion in your life will create an irreplaceable bond and bring you special memories that you will cherish for the rest of your life.
We learn from our pets every day, and one thing's for sure, if they're healthy, they're happy – and if they're happy, you are too!