Raising a Pet in the City: 6 Things You Need to Know

By Dr. David Rosenblatt, D.V.M

With the migration of people from houses in open rural environments to large and crowded cities with small apartments cramped alongside each other, human lifestyles, and those of our pets, have changed dramatically.

Veterinarians who treat urban pets encounter a completely different variety and scope of diseases than those seen by their rural counterparts. For example, excess weight due to inadequate exercise, joint problems associated with ascending and descending stairs, anxiety due to an overload of sounds and odors, respiratory issues affected by air pollution, paw pad damage due to walking on asphalt and paved surfaces, and more.

How can we alleviate the symptoms urban pets suffer from?

We can alleviate a large portion of these conditions and even prevent some with food that is suited to the urban environment and to the changing needs of pets:

1. Caloric restriction and nutrition that has the right protein, fat and carbohydrate balance helps in preventing excessive weight gain.
2. Zinc fortification, when given in safe amounts, helps support healthy skin and coats in general, and paw pads in particular.*
3. Using medicinal herbs that have a soothing effect, such as chamomile and passion fruit. A study that compared urban and rural pets** found that 70% of urban pet owners reported higher levels of stress compared to 55% of the dogs and 40% of the cats in a rural environment.
4. Added probiotics to strengthen the immune system and improve the digestive system’s activity.
5. Glucosamine and chondroitin to support joint health.
6. Balance between Omega 3 and Omega 6 essential fatty acids to help with inflammatory processes in the joints and skin and to alleviate the symptoms of the common allergies, which are 3 times higher in urban dogs***.

City dogs introduce some nature into the urban jungle, improve our health and light up our lives. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle based on healthy nutrition suited to the urban environment, going for a walk with or without a leash in permitted areas, regular exercise and optimal veterinary care depend on us, and will ensure our pets stay healthy while enjoying city life.

*According to the article: Zinc-Responsive Dermatosis in Dogs 150 mg/kg Zinc Helps Protect Feet.

**According to the article: Pet Owner Location Matters When Marketing Dog and Cat Products

***According to the article:  Urban environment predisposes dogs and their owners to allergic symptoms

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