The Parkway District • 1235 Apalachee Parkway • Open Daily 8am - 10pm • 850.942.2557

Taking Care of Our Furry Family Members

By Jennifer Bronson

One of my favorite times of the day is walking in the front door and being greeted by my family, and I don’t just mean my husband. In fact, he has to push his way through the dogs with their wet-nosed nuzzles while trying not trip over the purring cats prancing figure eights around my ankles to finally plant his own kiss on me! This is our family, and our pets are as much a part of it as siblings and parents. While pets share our home, couches, and beds, they also share the same requirements for a healthy, long life. Just like us, they need proper nutrition, exercise, regular doctor visits, and love.

Proper nutrition starts with wholesome food. Many conventional brands are filled with meat by-products, glutens, artificial coloring, sweeteners, salt, and harmful preservatives. A pet’s food can affect all aspects of their health, ranging from skin problems to obesity. Quality foods are nutritionally balanced, with every single ingredient serving a purpose. They are made with whole meats, vegetables, and fruits, and are packed full of vitamins and minerals. Supplements may also be added to a pet’s diet to treat specific issues-glucosamine for hip dysplasia and fish or flax seed oil for dry skin, allergies, and arthritis. You can find many natural and organic pet food products and treats, as well as vitamins and supplements, at New Leaf Market!

Exercise plays an extremely important role in natural health care. Animals, like us, are built to move. Keeping them moving on a daily basis is the key to a long life. This can mean daily walks for dogs or planned playtime and climbing towers for cats. Exercise helps with stiffness and swelling, but is also a great preventive measure for heart disease and obesity. The time you spend with your pet, whether it be jogging around the neighborhood or cuddling on the couch, is not only good for them, but also reduces stress in your own life. Affection and treats are essential components of caring for that furry family member naturally. Knowing they can depend on you for more than just food and water shows them that they are a vital part of the family!

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