10 habits to maintain for happy & healthy pets

As a pet owner, all you can ask for is that your pet lives a long, energetic, and fulfilled life. When you decide to bring a pet in your family, you become solely responsible for the habits that exist in their daily routines. Remember, your pet can’t take care of themselves so all of their major health habits need to come from you.

We have put together a list of ten super easy, super accessible habits for making sure you have healthy pets who will live long and happy lives!

10 habits for happy & healthy pets

1. Brush their teeth

Now we know that a pet’s breath isn’t going to be the first thing you want breathing in your face, but it should never get to the stage that you genuinely can’t bear it. Pets need to get excess food and bacteria out of their teeth as regularly as once a day! It is frightening how many people will be blown away by this – because it is a pet health habit tons of people forget about entirely.

The entire process is relatively painless and can be a training process from when your pet is still young. Calmness and patience are the order of the day when giving your pet’s canines a good scrub. Check out this step by step guide on how to get in and out of your pet’s mouth with all ten fingers intact.

2. Don’t skimp the skin

Whilst we aren’t talking about a 12-step daily regime here, taking care of your pet’s skin and coat is not only for appearances. The condition of your pet’s skin and fur reveals a whole lot about their health, so you need to make sure you are washing them regularly at home with a gentle shampoo that won’t be harmful to their skin.

Brushing their coat often is important to remove any build-up and detect any ticks or lice – regular brushing also prevents tons of shedding all over your lovely new couch!

3. Weight watchers

Watching your pet’s weight is as important as watching your own! If pets are given food, they will eat it no matter what. Even after they are full, your fur-baby will tuck in without any thought that this may be hazardous to their health.

This is why it is up to you to feed your pet the right amount of food for their body weight (your vet should be able to help you out with this easy-peasy). An obese pet is as equally neglected as an underweight one.

4. Exercise

If you, like millions of others, have chosen to incorporate exercise into your routine for 2023 then why not use man’s best friend as the ultimate motivation? Even on those days you feel like you’re just not up for it, the wagging tail and excited jumping around when your dog sees their leash should sort you right out.

Taking your dog for a 30-minute walk every day (or every second day) is a guaranteed way to keep their fitness and health levels up. If you feel like changing it up then take a walk or drive to your nearest park or beach and throw a frisbee – this will keep them entertained and definitely tuckered out by the time you are done!

5. Regular health inspections

The best way to stay on top of your pet’s health is to do a quick inspection once a week to keep an eye on any changes or anything unusual. Check their ears, nose and eyes for any pus or discharge (we know those are gross words, but hey, pet owners gotta do what pet owners gotta do).

Make sure you do a thorough scan from top to tail. The more often you do this, the more quickly you’ll be able to tell if something is off!

6. Regular vet visits

Here is the real take away from this: you need to take your pet to visit the vet regularly. Fortunately, there’s a solution that will make these vet visits a lot more affordable and stress-free.

Oneplan Pet Insurance has put options in place to make your life significantly easier – options like getting your claim paid out BEFORE you go and see your vet, or like being able to choose which vet you see (no need for you or your furry friend to have to change vets for the sake of insurance). You can even go so far as to pay ZERO excess on claims if you get the Excess-Buster Add-On – how pawesome is that?!

Related: What Does Excess Mean in Pet Insurance? | Terms Explained

7. Good for you, bad for them

Are you aware of what products you have in your home that could be seriously harmful to your pet? If you do, kudos. If you don’t – listen up! Here is a list of foods you need to keep out of reach:

  • Caffeine
  • Chocolate
  • Raisins
  • Any kind of nut (peanut butter is safe in small quantities)
  • Alcohol
  • Garlic and onions (which are usually kept in a low dry cupboard)

For a longer list, you can check out this article on what not to feed your furry friends!

If your pet has ingested any of these items, phone your vet and book an emergency consult. Scared of having to scratch around for cash in the event of an emergency? That’s no problem considering we front you with cash before you visit the vet – meaning you don’t need to pay out of pocket and wait for your claim to go through.

8. Nourishment

As the old adage goes – what you put in, you get out! We can’t express enough how important it is to feed your pet healthy food. What they eat affects their entire body – from their joints to organs, to teeth and coat. Most kibble usually has enough nutrients to sustain your pet, but why not go the extra mile?

9. Training & socialisation

Keeping on track with your pet’s behaviour and social skills may seem unrelated to health but that’s not the truth! Making sure your pet is obedient and composed in social situations is beneficial. Teaching your pet how to be around other animals decreases the risk of fighting and possible injury. Training your pet also means that they can keep calm in situations where they need to be: during fireworks, construction, thunderstorms or at the vet.

10. Give them LOVE

What better way to keep your fur baby’s tail wagging and adoring eyes staring up at you than to just BE with them. Look away from your screens and stop for a minute to appreciate this creature that loves you unconditionally and would protect you at all cost (unless we have a Princess Poodle on our hands in which case we can’t guarantee anything). Your care and attention will boost your pup’s health in ways you can’t imagine.

We look forward to talking with you about your pets health journey some more!

Yours in Not-so-average Pet Advice,

The Petinsurance.co.za Team