Hi, pet parents! Boo the dog is back again, ready to give you some advice straight from the horse’s mouth… your vet! No matter what kind of fur baby you have, veterinarians have some general overall tips to share with pet owners. Read on to stay informed and keep your dogs and cats healthy.
Vet Tips for Pets:
1. Regular check-ups and vaccinations
Veterinarians understand that life gets busy, but they all agree that the best preventative care a pet owner can provide is by staying on top of examinations and vaccinations. Waiting until your dog or cat gets sick can be worrisome and costly. Schedule regular check-ups with your veterinarian, and as much as we may dislike them, making sure we have our regular rabies, distemper, feline leukemia and canine hepatitis vaccines will keep us in good shape. Many vets also advise getting vaccinated against Canine Influenza, or dog flu, as it has spread throughout the United States in the last couple of years.
2. Parasite Prevention
Internal and external parasite control is critical to keeping your pet healthy. According to the Companion Animal Parasite Council, 2017 will be a big year for heartworms and Lyme disease due to the increase of mosquitos and ticks. Seeing your veterinarian regularly for preventative medicine is the best way to keep parasites at bay. Year-round prevention is pawsitively necessary for flea and intestinal parasite control. Veterinarians advise against skipping preventative medication during colder months since parasites are actually a year-round problem.
3. Dental Care
Dogs and cats, just like people, can experience gum disease. In fact, over 70% of dogs and cats experience dental disease by three years old. Without treatment, gum disease can lead to bad breath, tooth loss and pain, and difficulty eating. Regular daily brushing and cleanings can keep your pet’s teeth in good shape. Veterinarians also recommend occasionally getting your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned. In the meantime, try giving your pets dental treats. Not only are they a great preventative measure, we love them!
4. Diet and Exercise
At your next vet appointment, you may want to chat about your pet’s diet, confirming just how much and how often you should be feeding him or her. More than 52% of dogs and cats are overweight, which can lead to various health problems. Even though we love treats and your cooking, cutting back on the extra calories by avoiding these additional items is best practice. Just like humans, in addition to a healthy diet, regular exercise will keep us mentally and physically fit. Exercise doesn’t always have to be in the form of long walks. Playing with us regularly can provide mental stimulation and help prevent boredom.
Keeping your dogs and cats properly groomed isn’t just about looks. Regular brushing, bathing and nail trimming keeps your pet comfortable and gives you a chance to give him or her a good full-body check. If your dog or cat is hard to groom, you may reach out to a professional, or even add services on to your regular vet appointments.
One often-overlooked part of keeping your pet healthy involves how they are restrained when out of your home. Even if your dog or cat is the most well behaved pet, taking a trip to the vet’s office requires a leash for a dog or carrier for a cat. This is for the safety of your pet as well as others that may be in the office waiting area with you. Veterinarians recommend proper restraints anytime you leave your house. This will help them avoid accidents or injuries.
7. Emergency Care and First Aid
If your pet does sustain an injury during an accident, there are some things pet parents can do for first aid. First of all, make sure you have a first aid kit handy whenever leaving the house. Check out this video for suggestions of what to pack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V7tvbo1A0yI Depending on the injury, there are also various emergency situations to prepare for. Pets can suffer poisoning, seizures, broken bones, heatstroke and other problems. Make sure you have your veterinarian’s number, the poison control number, and an emergency clinic number close by.
There you have it, pet parents, seven ways to keep your fur babies healthy and happy. Until next time, Boo the dog signing off!