Preventive Pet Health Care Can Make a Difference
Our pets tend to give us the silent treatment when it comes to their health. Because they are unable to tell us when they have an ache or a pain, it’s up to us to look for tell-tale signs that may indicate an issue.
Simple routine care measures can help maintain your companion’s well-being and help to promote a long and healthy life.
1. Bi-Annual Exams Make for Healthy Pets
Dr. Cori Gross, a veterinarian in Seattle, Wash., says one of the most important things you can do for your pet is to make sure he gets routine veterinary examinations. “It’s all about taking preventative measures,” she explains. “You want to make sure you catch any potential problems early; that way it’s less expensive to care for your healthy pets in the long run.”
During a bi-annual exam, your veterinarian will conduct a complete physical exam to check your pet’s condition from nose to tail. They will evaluate everything from your pet’s heart and breathing to their ears, mouth and skin during this process. In addition to the examination, your veterinarian may recommend the following:
- A blood panel: This is a group of tests that help monitor liver and kidney function, red and white cell blood counts, and can help identify abnormalities that your pet may not be telling you about! Your veterinarian may suggest that seniors, pets over the age of 7, be tested bi-annually.
- A fecal test: This simple test checks pet’s stool for parasite eggs and/or other organisms that can be shed during irregular intervals; puppies usually are tested more frequently than adult dogs.
- Additional tests: May be recommended including x-rays, an EKG, blood pressure measurement or others. Your veterinarian will identify the most important tests for your pet based on their individual history and needs.
2. Dental Health
Dental care plays a big role in maintaining a pet’s overall health. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, it’s estimated that more than 80% of cats and dogs over the age of three show signs of oral disease. This includes everything from gum disease to oral melanoma(cancer).
Research indicates that proper dental health can extend the life of your pet by two to five years.
While the need for professional dental cleanings will vary from pet to pet based on your pet’s age and oral condition; there are a few simple ways to promote a healthy mouth in the meantime:
- Brush at home: Get your pet into a daily or weekly habit of having his teeth brushed at home. Use a finger brush or a pet toothbrush and pet toothpaste (never use human toothpaste; the sweetener can be toxic to pets). Once your pet gets into the routine, this task will become easier and can potentially extend the time between professional dental cleanings.
- Greenies®: According to the company, this edible dental chew (shaped like a toothbrush) can reduce tartar up to 69% and tartar buildup by 10.5% if eaten once a day. Ask your veterinarian about the appropriate size Greenie for your pet and remember that this treat adds to the total calorie intake your pet consumes during the day.
- Annual oral exam: Having your pet’s mouth examined once (or twice) a year during a routine checkup can help identify potential oral problems before they become serious.
- Bad breath: You may think that a stinky mouth is normal when it comes to your pet, but be careful: foul-smelling breath can indicate a serious problem either in your pet’s mouth or a digestive issue. Schedule an examination if your pet develops noticeably smelly breath.
Read more about healthy pets at petinsurance.com