Tips to assist you in helping your pet live a longer,
happier, healthier life
Your pet relies on you for affection, protection, nutrition and disease prevention. These tips can assist you in helping your pet to live a happier, healthier life.
There are many new developments every year to help your veterinarian provide new prevention and treatment options to your pet. Below is some basic information. For more detailed questions about your pet’s health, we recommend that you contact your veterinarian, your pet’s healthcare expert.
Preventive care is very important to the long-term health of your pet. Puppies and kittens generally visit the veterinarian every few weeks until approximately 4 months old. Healthy adults should visit at least once per year while young. As dogs get older, generally around 6 or 7 years of age, more frequent visits may become necessary.
There are many diseases that dogs and cats may be exposed to during their lives, and vaccinations can help prevent many of these diseases. Rabies is especially important because it not only can be transmitted to dogs and cats, it can also infect people. All dogs and cats should be vaccinated for this deadly disease.
Your pet may be exposed to parasites, which are easy to prevent:
- Heartworms are transmitted by infected mosquitoes. Dogs with heartworm infections usually develop problems, often life-threatening, over time. There are many products that given once-a-month, prevent your dog from getting this disease.
- Fleas can infest your pet and the environment that they live in. There are now many effective and easy-to-use options that can keep this irritating parasite under control.
- There are many different types of intestinal parasites (worms) that can infect dogs and cats. Most pets are given medications several times during the first several months of life to eliminate these parasites. Your pet can also become infected with some of these parasites later in life. Your veterinarian can test your dogs stool during an annual exam and, if needed, provide treatment for your pet.
Good food and fresh water
Feeding your pet a high-quality pet food can help it remain healthy. There are many specialty foods designed for particular ages or lifestyles. Whichever food you decide to provide to your pet, ensure that you provide fresh portions daily and remain aware of your pet’s weight. Remember that any treats, snacks and table foods should be taken into account. All of these items quickly add calories to your pet’s daily intake. Your veterinarian can provide advice on healthy nutrition for your pet.
Just like us, healthy pets should get exercise daily. If your pet is older, has any medical problems, or is just beginning an exercise program, consult your veterinarian before you begin.
Keeping your pet’s weight at a healthy level is not always simple but can be important for long-term health. Excess weight can lead to other problems or complicate conditions like arthritis. Some pets more easily gain weight than others. If your pet is overweight or obese, your veterinarian can provide advice and products to help your pet return to a healthy weight.
Spay or neuter
Spaying or neutering is important in reducing pet overpopulation and preventing unwanted puppies and kittens.
Behavior problems can be common and difficult for pet owners to deal with. Early training and socialization frequently helps to prevent some of these problems from developing in dogs.
Exposure to other people and pets early in life can help pets learn how to get along in groups or with visitors.
Structured training with positive rewards can help you to control your pet’s behavior safely and humanely.
Depending on your pet and its hair coat, periodic bathing, brushing, clipping or other grooming may be needed to keep their hair neat and skin healthy.
All pets should have proper identification to help identify you as their owner should they ever become lost. A microchip is a small metal device implanted with a needle under the pet’s skin. It can help ensure identification of your pet if found by a shelter or veterinary hospital.
If your pet spends time outside, ensure it has access to fresh water and shelter.
- Heat: High temperatures can lead to heat stroke. Make sure that your pet has access to shade and fresh water, and limit or avoid exercise.
- Cold: Make sure that water left outside for your pet doesn’t freeze over. Extremities such as the ears and toes are susceptible to frost bite. Make sure that your pet has access to warm, dry areas.
- Vehicles: Never leave your pet confined in a closed vehicle during warm days. The temperature in a closed vehicle can quickly soar to dangerous levels, especially in sunshine.