Keeping Your Pet Feeling Their Very Best
You love your pets, but caring for their health of them is a big responsibility, That said, caring for your pet's health doesn't need to be complicated, simply focus on lots of love and follow these 10 easy steps to help prevent health issues from developing.
1 - Provide Your Pet With Nutritious Meals
Your pet's well-being is impacted by the quality of the food they eat. To help keep your dog or cat healthy, speak to your vet about the best foods for your pet based on age, breed, and lifestyle. Your veterinary professional will be happy to offer tips for finding just the right food to meet your pet's nutritional needs. Whether you want to feed your four-legged friend the best food to achieve optimal health and prevent illness or find a diet that will help treat existing conditions, discussing your pet's nutritional needs with your vet can help.
2 - Help Your Dog or Cat Maintain a Healthy Weight
Obesity has been linked to several serious conditions in pets including diabetes and joint pain, so keeping your dog or cat at a healthy weight is essential for them to maintain optimal health. Once you have chosen a nutritious food that your pet enjoys, your vet will be able to determine the optimal number of calories your four-legged friend should consume each day. Once you know how many calories are appropriate for your pet, you will be able to easily work out exactly how much to feed your pet at each meal.
3 - Ensure That Your Pet Gets Plenty of Exercise (Yes, That Means Cats Too!)
Adequate physical activity not only helps to keep your pet's body in good condition, but it can also help to prevent them from getting bored which can lead to destructive behaviors or anxiety. Different animals require different amounts of exercise, and different kinds of exercise. While some dogs can stay healthy with a quick walk around the block, high-energy breeds may need an hour or more of vigorous exercise once or twice a day. Outdoor cats typically stay active while exploring the world around them but indoor cats should be encouraged to play everyday. Speak to your vet or breeder about the appropriate amount of exercise for your pet.
4 - Take Your Pet For Regular Checkups
Diagnosing and treating conditions in the very earliest stages helps to ensure the very best treatment outcomes. Annual wellness exams (checkups), when your pet seems healthy, are all about prevention, monitoring your pet's overall health, and checking for early signs of developing issues. At these appointments your vet will discuss your pet's diet, exercise, and other lifestyle factors with you, answer any questions you may have about your pet's health or behavior, then perform a thorough physical examination. Your pet's checkup, the vet will discuss any findings with you. If anything concerning has been detected, your vet will discuss next steps.
5 - Always Keep Your Pet's Vaccinations Current
At Pacific & Santa Cruz Veterinary Specialists our vets believe that vaccinations are essential for preventing disease and helping your pet live a long and healthy life. Regularly scheduled vaccines help to protect your animal companion from many highly contagious, potentially life-threatening diseases. While most states require by law that all dogs and cats be vaccinated against rabies, there are several other serious conditions that vaccines protect pets against including parvo, distemper, panleukopenia, feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline leukemia (FeLV) and feline herpesvirus (FHV).
6 - Parasite Prevention Is Key!
Ticks, fleas, and mosquitoes can all carry organisms that lead to a range of diseases that seriously threaten your pet's health and longevity. A bite from one of these parasites could cause your pet to become gravely ill, contract ongoing chronic diseases, or develop skin issues and infections. Your vet is familiar with the parasites that threatening the health of pets in your area. Speak to your veterinarian to find out the most effective ways to protect your animal against tick-borne diseases, heartworms, and other parasitic conditions common in your area.
7 - Socialization
A puppy’s or kitten’s formative years are from a few weeks old to about 16-18 weeks and is the most critical period for socialization. To help prevent anxiety and aggression it is important to introduce other people and pets to your new animal companion as early as possible. This allows your dog or cat to build confidence around others and recognize that new people and other animals are a normal part of day-to-day life. But don't stop once your kitten or puppy has grown, ongoing socialization is essential for your pet's mental health.
8 - Grooming
Grooming involves keeping your pet’s nails trimmed, brushing them a few times a week, and giving dogs regular baths. Grooming is also a good way to keep an eye on changes in your pet’s fur or skin, like dandruff, bald patches, or dry skin. These regular grooming session offer an ideal opportunity to check your pet for hot spots, bald patches, or lumps and bumps that may be cause for concern. Check with your veterinarian for the best grooming protocol for your particular pet.
9 - Dental Care
Dental health issues are common in dogs and cats, and are as painful as the dental problems we can develop. That's why regular dental care is a very important aspect of maintaining the happiness and health of your pet. To help preserve your dog or cat's good oral health (and prevent unnecessary pain) make annual dental exams and cleanings a normal part of your pet's ongoing preventive healthcare. If you think that your pet may be suffering from a painful dental issue be sure to get them veterinary care right away, before the condition becomes more severe.
10 - Spay/ Neuter
Our Santa Cruz vets believe that getting your dog or cat fixed is an important step in keeping your pet healthy and feeling contented. These common reproductive surgeries not only prevent the birth of unwanted puppies or kittens, they can also help to prevent a number of undesirable behaviors such as howling, roaming, spraying and aggression as well as preventing some serious forms of cancer. Your veterinarian can help you decide on the best time to have your pet spayed or neutered.
11 - Pet Safety
Of course it's also vitally important to keep your beloved pet safe while they are at home, and outside. There are many ways you can help with pet safety including:
- collars with ID tags
- fenced-in yards (to keep other animals out and your animal in)
- keeping toxic chemicals out of reach and locked up
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.