One of the fantastic things about pets is how much unconditional love they give us. In return for their affection, there are measures you can take as a responsible pet owner to keep your pet healthy and live a long, pain-free life.
1. Give Them a Good Diet
Obesity in pets is perhaps the most complex, challenging, and, ultimately, one of veterinary medicine’s most critical medical conditions. Nearly 60% of cats and 54% of dogs equaling over 50 million cats and 42 million dogs, are at risk for weight-related disorders. Here are some top reasons to keep your pet at a healthy weight:
A healthy weight contributes to a better quality of life and a longer life expectancy.
Lowers their risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory disease, kidney disease, and some forms of cancer
Reduces the chances of injury to bones, joints, and muscles associated with excess weight
It makes it easier to manage the discomfort associated with arthritis as your pet ages.
Our blog on Pet Obesity details how to help your pet achieve and maintain its ideal weight properly.
2. Exercise Your Pet
Regularly exercising your dog or cat goes hand in hand with a healthy diet.
Regular exercise helps your pet stay fit and strong and improves their mood. Your pet’s activity depends on age, breed, size, and overall health. Here is a rough guideline you can use.
- Dogs should spend 30 minutes to two hours on an activity every day.
- Cats should have two play sessions daily for 10 to 15 minutes per day.
If you are unsure how much exercise your pet needs, we will be happy to discuss this with you.
3. Provide Fresh, Clean Water
Clean drinking water is essential to a pet’s well-being. Make sure your pet has access to fresh, clean water every day. If you use water fountains, follow the manufactures recommendations for cleaning and adding fresh water. Dirty water can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal issues.
4. Keep Your Pet’s Wellness Appointments
Wellness checks are an essential part of your pet’s care. They are a way you can be proactive about your pet’s health. Pets can hide their pain and may be sick for months without showing physical signs of illness. Vaccines help prevent some diseases, but not all of them. With wellness checks, you can prevent your pet from having a dangerous condition go undetected and developing into its later stages. The earlier we diagnose a problem, the better chance a pet has of surviving.
5. Maintain Good Dental Care
Pets need their teeth cleaned daily and professionally, just like we do. If you neglect their dental health, your pets can suffer tooth loss, gum disease, and severe heart, liver, and kidney problems as they age. Luckily, with regular veterinarian professional dental treatment and at-home care, you can keep your pet’s mouth healthy. Please watch this video from the AVMA — DENTAL HEALTH: HOW TO BRUSH YOUR PET’S TEETH.
6. Groom Your Pets
Whether you use professional or at-home grooming, grooming does a lot to keep your pet healthy by keeping their nails trimmed and their coats looking healthy. Grooming is also an excellent way to keep an eye on changes in your pet’s fur or skin, like dandruff, bald patches, dry skin, or pests. And it’s an ideal time to check for lumps and bumps that may cause concern.
7. Keep Them Pest Free
Parasites such as fleas, ticks, lice, and mites can cause many problems with pets. Reactions to pests can range from mild allergic reactions to severe or even fatal reactions from heartworm disease, Lyme disease, demodectic mange, and so forth. We offer a variety of pet-friendly flea, tick, and other parasite control and prevention products you can purchase at our office or online pharmacy.
As mentioned above, look for fleas, ticks, and coat abnormalities any time you groom your pet or bring them in from outside areas that are likely to have higher numbers of these parasites.
Contact us if your pet excessively scratches, chews, or licks its fur, persistently shakes the head or scratches the ears. Prompt treatment not only lessens your pet’s discomfort but also decreases the chances of the transmission of diseases and may reduce the degree of home infestation.
8. Protected Your Pets from Harsh Weather
Extreme heat or cold weather conditions are not safe for pets. For example, animals exposed to cold, dry air, rain, or snow can suffer from chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin. Animals left out in the cold without proper protection can suffer hypothermia, especially when temperatures drop below 20 degrees F.
Keep your pets indoors when temperatures are extreme. When they go outside, ensure to protect them from harsh elements.
9. Stay Observant.
Let us know if you notice changes in your pet’s usual behavior patterns or health. Changes in eating or sleeping habits, restlessness, temperament, etc. can sometimes indicate an underlying health condition. Communicating any changes, can help your veterinarian catch problems early on before they become big.
10. Give Them Plenty of Love
Finally, if you’re looking for ways to keep pets healthy, give them lots of love. Pet owners should spend at least one hour per day with their animals, whether playing, grooming, or just spending quality time together.
We would also like to remind pet parents about being safe with their pets for Halloween. Candy, strangers at the door, costumes, and such can all pose dangers for pets. Enjoy your Halloween but please follow the safety tips from the AVMA on How to Make Halloween Safer for Pets.
We are here to help you keep your pets happy and healthy. Please contact us if you have any questions or need to bring your pet in to see us.
Dr. Ashley Tuma