Wag & Walk 4 Life: Healthy Habits

It’s important to exercise your dogs daily.  I know quite a few people who believe that because they have a backyard they don’t have to walk their dogs.  This couldn’t be further from the truth.  Unless you have an agility area in your backyard, or you are out there throwing a frisbee and balls everyday, you really should take the time to walk your dog.  I was doing some research for this blog post and happened to stumble upon an article from Dr. Ernie Ward, a nationally renowned veterinarian, pet author and founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, who is helping The GREENIES® Brand team kick off this month’s Veterinary Health Tips Post Series. Dr. Ward regards that maintaining healthy habits in households with pets is important and the best way to ensure overall pet happiness and well being.

Dr. Ward offers his ‘Top 5 Healthy Habits’ for pet owners who want to keep their pets healthy throughout the year:

1) Healthy Eats and TreatsThe most important decision you make each day regarding your pet’s health is what you feed it. When choosing pet food, look for meat as one of the first ingredients and avoid by-products, artificial flavors, colors and preservatives whenever possible. When it comes to treats, look for low-cal options that confer some health benefit. Treats that help maintain healthy joints, clean teeth or ensure pills are taken are recommended. The GREENIES® Brand specializes in great tasting treats individually formulated to deliver these benefits. If you’re going to give treats, make them count!

2) Brain BoostersI love puzzles – and so does your pet! One of my favorite ways to feed and treat my patients is with a food puzzle. These clever devices hide your pet’s food or treats until they unlock the secret and get their goodies. These tools engage your pet’s brain and bust boredom while you’re away. These toys stimulate thought and don’t pack on the pounds!

3) Power PlayWalking your dog and playing with your cat each day keeps them trim, healthy and mentally alert. Pets that don’t receive enough physical activity (“lap potatoes”) have the highest rates of weight-related diseases such as arthritis and diabetes and suffer from behavioral problems. For dogs, 20 to 30 minutes of brisk walking each day benefits both ends of the leash. For cats, two or three five-minute play periods are plenty.

4) Paws TogetherIt’s more fun to play with other dogs! Socialized dogs are simply better behaved and more fun. Visit a dog park, enroll in training classes or become active in serving your community. There are endless ways to get you and your dog interacting with other pet lovers. Share the fun and join a new pack!

5) Pets and VetsSomehow we started believing the only time you needed a vet was when something was wrong with your pet. The secret to a long and healthy life is vet visits when everything appears fine. My goal as a veterinarian is to prevent disease, not only treat it. Most of my advice is straightforward: change diet or lifestyle, give nutritional supplements, and exercise more. Sometimes you just need a prod; other times a push. Your veterinarian is your pet’s voice; let them speak for your pet by visiting once a year for young pets and twice yearly for those over age seven.  Too many serious diseases could’ve been avoided or lessened simply by catching them sooner. This is one healthy habit every pet owner can keep.

Last year, GREENIES® Brand teamed up with veterinarian and triathlete Dr. Ernie Ward to launch the Wag & Walk 4 Life™ challenge to dog owners across America.  The challenge was for pet owners to visit www.facebook.com/greenies and pledge to walk a certain distance each week with their pet. Once cumulative pledges reached a virtual walk around Earth—about 25,000 miles— The GREENIES® Brand began monetary and in-kind donations to Englewood, CO-based Freedom Service Dogs to support the training and placement of a service dog with a disabled veteran who needed a mobility partner.

Today, with each new member that signs up for the Wag & Walk 4 Life™ via GREENIES® Brand’s Facebook link here www.facebook.com/greenies, they will make a monetary donation to Freedom Service Dogs.  On May 30 of this year, I took the pledge and blogged about this campaign in hopes that all of you would join me.  If you are new here, there is still time to sign up.  In addition to pledging to exercising with your dog(s), you can also win a GREENIES® Brand prize pack!  In fact, today is the last day you can enter to win the prize pack!  So, hurry and take the pledge, then visit my first blog post HERE about the Wag & Walk 4 Life™ campaign for your chance to win.

I hope that you will continue to work on completing your pledge, even when the giveaway ends.  It’s simply a way to keep you and your dogs living a healthier lifestyle. For those of you who’ve signed up and taken the pledge, I am curious as to how far you’ve come.  Will you share your updates with us?

By following the simple, everyday tips listed above, pet owners can ensure that their pets remain their healthiest. For more best care tips for pets, visit www.greenies.com and www.drernieward.com.

References:Dr. Ernie Ward’s ‘Top 5 Healthy Habits for pet owners’ was originally posted at GREENIES® Brand’s Writer’s Pad on Friday, June 17 under the title, “Introducing New Veterinary Health Tips Series“. Permission to add the ‘Top 5 Healthy Habits for pet owners’ to this blog post was given to me, Doreen Disbro, on Friday, June 24.

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Note: All content provided on Doggies and Stuff is meant for educational purposes only and should never be used to replace professional veterinary care from a licensed veterinarian. This site and its owner do not constitute the practice of any veterinary medical health care advice, diagnosis or treatment. Doggies and Stuff and its owner are not responsible for any adverse reactions to any products won via our giveaways.

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