With pet ownership growing in recent years, the pet industry is rapidly evolving, thanks to increasingly discerning pet owners who have no qualms splashing out for the best and newest food, treats, technology, toys and more for their beloved companions. Owners these days are spoilt for choice as pet businesses take advantage of these trends by developing products and services that are convenient and beneficial for humans and animals alike. With National Pet Day falling on April 11, here are some ways you can spoil them, no matter whether you’re on a budget or are keen to splurge.
For those of you who call your pet your “fur baby” or “your child”, this pet food trend might be for you. This fad follows the idea that pets are fed foods of the same quality that humans consume. One such company that has jumped onto this bandwagon is Addiction, where you can purchase dishes such as herbed lamb and potatoes for your canine, or unagi and seaweed entree for your feline made with ingredients sourced in New Zealand. These can be available either as wet food in cans or dried/dehydrated treats and are also touted to be hypoallergenic and nutritious.
2. Go raw
Unlike dry kibble that can contain a large amount of fillers that provide little to no benefit to your pet, the raw food diet claims to be highly nourishing as the nutrients are the most bio-available. This method also allows you to find out if your pet is allergic to any animal meats and eliminate any possible allergens that can be included with other diet types/combinations. Places to source for raw meats include Fidelis Meats, K9 Natural and Stella & Chewy’s.
3. Meal plan
For pets with particularly finicky medical conditions or dietary requirements, meal planning is a way for you to really control and cocktail your pet’s diet to ensure optimal nutrient levels. At Bom Bom for example, you can plan two to four weeks worth of meals that are “perfectly balanced and portioned” that you can just thaw and feed. Meal plans are crafted based on the weight goal for your pet, and you can select allergens, make special requests and pick the type of protein you want before deciding on the number of meals per day. Similarly, GoodWoof Singapore provides custom diets catered to your particular pet, and believe in fresh food that is grain-free, has no preservatives, no fillers and no additives to ensure that your pets are in optimal health.
4. Organic diets
Your pet can go organic with you too. These foods are created with organic produce that are grown without herbicides and genetic modifications, for example, and could be beneficial for pets, especially those that are highly susceptible to the presence of chemicals in their diet. Kohepets and The Honest Kitchen are examples of brands that create organic pet food. However, do note that going organic can cost you a pretty penny.
5. Supplement their diet
Much like how we humans like to consume nutrition supplements to boost certain deficiencies in our diet, the same principle applies for our animal friends. From mussel powders to increase healthy omega-3 fatty acids to shark cartilage for bone and joint health, there are many supplements you can choose from to bolster your pet’s health. Brands that sell pet supplements include Chew Time, Nutri-Petz and Nutreats.
6. Take care of their oral health with chews
Whether you have a hyperactive dog or one that suffers from dental problems, a good chew would do the trick as it keeps them occupied while stimulating their saliva production and fights off plague and odour. There are many to choose from, such as raw bones, dried animal throats and bully sticks, each with their own benefits from adding protein to supplementing glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health. Just be sure to discard the chew once it gets too small as it can be a choking hazard. Chews are widely available in most pet shops, such as Good Dog People and Droolb.
7. Give them a treat
8. Pet acupuncture
Acupuncture, which involves the penetration of the skin by small metallic needles at specific points, has been a go-to Traditional Chinese Medicine measure for pain management among humans. TCM practitioners believe that this would stimulate energy flow (Qi) throughout the body, creating harmony and balance. Disharmony or “blockage” would in turn cause pain and illness. There are now increasingly more veterinary acupuncturists performing pet acupuncture in Singapore, as practitioners believe that the same principle applies to animals. Many say the treatment helps pets who are suffering from chronic or acute pain, such as muscle pain and osteoarthritis and spinal arthritis, skin problems, conditions related to the immune system and other problems such as constipation in cats and irritable bowel related problems in dogs. Clinics who offer this service include AVH Animal Ark Veterinary Group, The Visiting Vets and Amber Vet. According to Jane Tan, The Visiting Vets’s veterinary acupuncturist and nurse, “acupuncture is not a cure but a supportive and complementary therapy that goes hand-in-hand with veterinary treatment”.
9. Chiropractic care
Chiropractic treatments focus on spinal manipulation and the treatment of surrounding structures, with the belief that proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal structure will enable the body to heal itself. It is another pain relief alternative and to restore mobility in joints. Similar to acupuncture, many believe the same theory holds for animals. Animal chiropractors can help treat a number of conditions, including chronic musculoskeletal problems, acute tension or stiffness, muscle spasms and even separation anxiety and incontinence. It can also be a wellness treatment to simply enhance performance, prevent illness and maintain fitness. There are very few options here currently, but you can try Dr Valerie Teo from Elder Chiropractic Clinic.
If your ageing pets are suffering from mobility issues, RA Healing Centre offers a range of physiotherapy treatments, such as therapeutic exercises, canine hydrotherapy, electrostimulation, cold therapy and even tuina. All these are meant to improve your pets’ quality of life and their function in daily life, to improve their range of motion, muscle mass and muscle strength and balance, and to alleviate pain. Gentle Oak Veterinary Clinic also offers Bowen Therapy, a holistic form of bodywork that’s a bit like a massage, where fingers and thumbs are pressed on precise points on the animal’s body to restore balance. It is supposed to promote and support the body’s own powers of relaxation and self-healing, and can be useful for animals with problems such as sprains and strains, to improve the lives of those with chronic conditions and degenerative disease, to relieve tension caused by stress and trauma and more.
11. Spa day out
We all love the soothing benefits of a nice spa treatment, but did you know there are plenty of options available to also give your pooch or puss a relaxing wrap and scrub down so they come home refreshed, happy and sweet-smelling? From mud treatments to blueberry facials, this is the best way to pamper your best friend (and make bath time more bearable for it). Try Sopra Ginza, which offers an organic herbal wrap and a mud wrap spa that tackle skincare issues and improves fur quality, or Pet Loft, which has a luxurious spa package that includes a milky bubble spa and an Ayurveda herb treatment. There’s also Animal Arts Academy, which has a whole range of spa treatments such as the Japanese Herb Treatment that has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties to treat skin ailments and the Nano Microbubble Spa which cleanses impurities from your pet’s skin with microbubbles.
12. Sign up for BodyTalk
Not to be confused with animal communication, BodyTalk involves good communication within the body of the animal, with a goal to balance the general body and mind energy of your companions and addressing their physical, emotional and behavioural concerns. Because each system and cell in the body is designed constantly to communicate with each other, allowing adaptability, resilience and flexibility, a disruption of these lines of communication can lead to a decline in physical, emotional, and/or mental health. Reconnecting these lines of communication enables the body to function back at tip-top condition, preventing disease and rapidly accelerating the healing process. Practitioners, who use biofeedback and an extensive protocol chart to determine imbalances, say it can benefit pets with behaviour and health problems, allergies, environmental sensitivities, viruses and infections, depressed immune systems, brain dysfunction, musculoskeletal pain, and psychological problems, among many others. Try it out at the Animal Recovery Veterinary Referral Centre.
13. Communicate with them
Want to know what your pet is thinking or feeling? Animal communicators take the label “Animal Whisperer” to the next level, by claiming to be a translator and voice for your pets. According to Amy Lim Healing, animal communication can help pets and owners understand each other better, to give animals a chance to speak up and to resolve unwanted issues. This can also strengthen and improve bonding between animals and humans, improve their quality of life (since you know how they feel and what they want), and prepare sudden changes in life situations, such as a new baby or a death in the family. Amy provides animal communication services, and you can also try Animal Communications Singapore.
14. Work it out
Let your pup exercise to its heart’s content at the K9 Sports Jumper Course (April 12 April, 4.30pm to 8pm at the Training Ground) at the PetExpo. The course allows you you and your pooch to work as a team under the supervision of trainers to learn how to do a simple jumper course, which includes jumping over obstacles, ducking into tunnels and going through rings. Not only is it super fun, it promotes a strong bond between you and your dog as the latter will have to learn how to obey cues while running at speed. Note: Your dog needs to be at least 10 months old and above. PetExpo is from April 12 to 14 April 2019, 11am to 8pm daily, at Singapore Expo Hall 7. Register here for a time slot.
Give your dog or cat a break by checking it into luxury pet hotel The Wagington that comes with resplendent “suites”. Averaging 15 to 96 sq ft per room, each suite is decked out in plush furnishings, contains handcrafted soft faux leather orthopaedic beds and has a high definition web cam for your easy supervision. The finest offering is the Royal Suite, which at 96 sqft, comes with a queen size bed, a balcony, a chandelier, mood lighting and a 32-inch LED TV where they can binge watch movies and dig into gourmet selections from their room-dining menu. Hotel facilities include a dog bone-shaped pool and a salon and spa. What a treat.
Written by Ho Guo Xiong and Joy Fang.