October is National Pet Wellness Month.
Pet Wellness. It’s a great buzz phrase, isn’t it? But what does it really mean?
Your pet is WELL, right? She’s not sick, and isn’t that the opposite of well? So why should you care about pet wellness? There’s nothing to do if your pet isn’t sick.
Or is there?
What is pet wellness?
As a veterinarian, I’m not a huge fan of the “pet wellness” movement. Not because not being sick is bad. Not because it’s cheaper to keep pets well than it is to diagnose and treat illness. But because “wellness” is an abstraction. It sounds great, but it gives the impression that wellness is a passive state that just, well, happens.
It’s not. It doesn’t.
Think for a minute about what it means for us to be well. Real wellness goes far beyond not suffering from symptoms of illness or chronic pain. Wellness is really about reducing our risk of illness by:
- Eating right
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Exercising regularly
- Getting enough sleep
- Brushing our teeth twice a day
- Enjoying relationships that contribute to emotional health
- Challenging our brains and taking breaks for good mental health
- Visiting our physician for periodic checkups
- Vaccination against preventable diseases
This stuff isn’t passive. In fact, some of it sounds a lot like work. Being well takes commitment. Time. Effort. It’s active.
Pet Wellness is active, too, and that’s why we prefer to talk about preventive care instead. Preventive care is the action that makes the idea of pet wellness real by committing the time and effort needed to help your pet stay as healthy and comfortable as possible for as long as we can. This month, we’re going to talk a bit about why wellness matters, why you should care, and what we can help you do about it.