At Village Vet Animal Hospital in Broken Arrow, OK we want to help our pet parents provide the best care for their pets that they can. Here are 12 pet health care tips that every pet parent should know to help their pet’s enjoy long healthy lives.
12 Pet Health Care Tips
1. Annual pet health exams are important – If you really want a healthy pet, make sure they have annual exams. It is one of the most important things you can do for them. An annual pet health exam can reveal health problems or potential problems that you may not be aware of, well before it becomes to late to treat. Your pet’s annual check up should include a nose to tail exam and is great time for discussions about nutrition, aging and behavior.
2. Spay & Neuter your pets – An estimated 3.7 million animals are euthanized in animal shelters each year across the United States making pet overpopulation the leading killer of dogs and cats in our country. You don’t want to contribute to that problem. There are many benefits of spaying or neutering your pet including reduced risk to some types of cancer, reduced roaming behaviors, territorial marking behaviors and intersex aggression.
3. Practice parasite prevention – Fleas and ticks are scourges our pets face with which most pet owners are familiar. What you may not be familiar with is that fleas can carry other parasite like tapeworms. Fleas also cause many skin irritations and can cause flea allergy dermatitis and anemia. Ticks can carry dangerous infections such as as Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and ticks can give those same infections to you.
4. Feed your pets high quality dog food – It is very important that pet owners educate themselves about their pet’s nutrition. Your local veterinarian in Broken Arrow can help you select proper nutrition for your pet. Certain dietary preservatives and synthetic chemicals pose significant health hazards and can negatively affect overall well-being. We have all heard anecdotes about the elimination of disease and improvement in energy by the adoption of a healthful natural diet. These same principles apply to your pet as well.
5. Make sure your pets always have water – An animal can loose all of its fat and half of its protein and survive, but only a 10% loss of body water causes serious illness. That is how essential water is to pet health. Always have fresh, cool, clean water available for your pets. Use water bowls that can’t be easily overturned with reservoirs attached.
6. Exercise your pets regularly – Exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle for pets and people. The best and easiest exercise to enjoy with your dog is walking or running. All you need is some time and a leash. How far and how fast you go with your dog depends on its age, level of fitness and breed. Cats get much of their exercise paying with toys, exploring and jumping. Make sure there are safe vertical spaces in your home for your cat to jump on such as a cat tree or an empty window sill. Laser pointers are also a great way to keep your cat active and busy.
7. Maintain a healthy body weight for your pets – Many dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese. A 2008 study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimated that 44% of American dogs, or roughly 33 million, were overweight or obese. Just like people, obesity in pets comes with health risks that include diabetes, arthritis, and cancer. Keeping our pets at a proper weight can add years to their lives.
8. Your pets need annual dental care – Dental cleanings are very important to pet health. A professional cleaning is essential. If left untreated, dental disease will cause a lot of pain and discomfort for your pet. There can also be permanent loss of gum tissue and teeth. ”Studies in both pets and people have shown that dental disease long term can create heart, liver and kidney problems.” according to Brad Walsh, DVM at All Creatures Veterinary Hospital. ” Getting your pets teeth cleaned goes far beyond simply giving them good breath or pretty teeth”
9. Provide proper shelter day and night for your pets – Provide shelter that offers adequate protection from heat, cold, rain, and wind. Whether your pet lives inside your house or outside in the yard, they should have their own private area that makes them feel safe.
10. Microchip your pets – Studies estimate that only 14% of lost pets ever find their way back home. A microchip is only about the size of a grain of rice, is usually implanted in the scruff of your pet’s neck and doesn’t cause any pain for your pet. It needs no battery and can be scanned by a vet or an animal control officer in seconds. Register the chip ID with the chip’s maker.
11. Get regular vaccinations – Your dog or cat needs to be immunized against common ills, such as rabies, distemper, feline leukemia, and canine hepatitis. Your pet’s age, lifestyle, health, and risks will determine how often.
12. Play with your pets daily – Pets need stimulation and attention. Play with them regularly. If you meet your pet’s emotional need for companionship and play, your pet will feel happy and secure. Discipline problems will be fewer and training easier.