How to Have a Healthy Pet

Richard S. Goldstein, Diplomate of the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners and owner of Mobile Vet Squad in Westchester County, NY introduces some of the key areas that you'll need to consider when adopting a pet. This includes ensuring proper nutrition, keeping her skin and coat clean and pest-free, and taking steps to prevent serious illnesses. In return for this substantial time and financial investment, you and your pet should enjoy many happy years together.


Most dogs and cats need plenty of exercise. Dogs in particular, need regular walking. Daily attention can curb destructive behavior and help her (and you) get a good night's rest.

More than half of all dogs and cats in the United States today are considered overweight according to a 2011 study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. This means that pets have an increased risk of injuries and health problems. That's why it's essential to keep your pet active.

The ASPCA recommends playing with your dog for about 30 minutes two times a day. Take her swimming, go for a walk or jog in the park, or play fetch. This will help discourage destructive behavior while creating a stronger bond.

Cats also benefit from aerobic activity. They enjoy chasing toys, catching a small ball, and learning new tricks. Just be aware that overweight cats have unique health risks, so it's essential that your veterinarian closely supervise any feline weight-loss efforts.


When it comes to cat or dog food, feeding your pet a balanced diet is key to her health and longevity. More expensive isn't always best. There are affordable foods that have high-quality ingredients. You don't have to splurge on expensive brands.

If your animal doesn't have any specific medical concerns, Dr. Goldstein recommends finding an affordable basic food that your animal can tolerate.

To help you navigate through the wide array of choices available at your pet store, look for foods that have animal protein (such as beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, or salmon) listed as one of the first ingredients. Steer away from animal byproducts, which aren't as nutritious, and avoid brands that are overly processed or contain artificial colors and sweeteners.


An important part of caring for your pet is grooming. It can keep your fury friend flea- and tick-free. Exactly what your animal needs will depend, on its breed and coat type. Most short-haired animals often are easier to care for than longer-haired pets.

Most dogs will need occasional baths, while cats rarely need them. But both animals do require brushing and nail trimming, and some dog breeds will also need regular haircuts. Whether you handle these tasks at home or invest in professional grooming, make the time to regularly check your pet for excessively dry skin, dandruff, or rashes, since these can be signs of an allergy or other health problem.

Ridding Fleas and Ticks

Fleas and ticks are a serious concern for pet owners. Talk to your veterinarian about the risks that exist in your region and find out whether topical or oral treatments should be part of your wellness strategy.