As a pet parent, you want your furball to be at their best. However, sometimes, owners are not well informed on all the ways they can help their pets live healthier. What’s more, you might be doing things that are harmful to your pets’ health without even realizing it.
Fortunately, improving and prolonging the lives of our four-legged friends is not that difficult. Here are 7 tips from vets that will help you keep your beloved pet happy and healthy.
1. Visit Your Vet Twice a Year
Taking your pet to the vet while they’re still healthy may sound illogical but by waiting until you notice an issue, the condition could be too severe to correct or treat. Finding the best local veterinarians and getting semi-annual preventive checkups are essential to protecting your pet’s health.
At these routine checkups, your veterinarian will perform a thorough physical examination to check for potential underlying health conditions. Routine vet visits should also cover pet nutrition, parasite control, recommended vaccinations, and a dental exam.
2. Maintain a Healthy Weight
As per the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, about 60% of cats and dogs are obese or overweight, which has a negative impact on their quality of life. Pets that are overweight are at an increased risk for a variety of health problems, such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and joint issues, leading to hefty veterinary bills and a shortened life expectancy.
The best way to prevent obesity is to feed your four-legged companion high-quality food in adequate portions. If you are not sure about the type of food or portion size that’s suitable for your pet, it is best to speak to your vet.
3. Pay Attention to Dental Care
Just like humans, pets can also suffer from tooth pain, tooth loss, and gum disease. Although dental disease is one of the most preventable illnesses in dogs and cats, many owners neglect their pets’ teeth.
It is estimated that 70% of cats and 80% of dogs show symptoms of dental disease by the age of three, which often leads to loose teeth, chronic pain, and abscesses, which is why regular teeth brushing and dental cleanings are very important.
4. Spay/Neuter Your Pet
Did you know that between eight and ten million pets in the States end up in shelters each year? Spaying and neutering dogs and cats not only helps to reduce the number of unwanted cats and dogs from crowding animal shelters and being euthanized, but it also has a number of health benefits for your furry companion.
Studies have shown that the life expectancy of neutered male dogs is 13.8% longer and that of spayed female dogs was 26.3% longer compared to dogs who had not undergone a spay/neuter procedure.
A contributor to the increased longevity of spayed/neutered pets is their reduced risk of certain types of cancers. According to research, spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast tumors, which are malignant in about 90% of cats and 50% of dogs.
5. Protect Your Pet from Parasites
Fleas are among the most common external parasites that affect dogs and cats, along with ticks, mites, and lice. Not only can they lead to skin irritation, infection, hot spots, and hair loss, but they can also be hosts for other parasites like tapeworms.
Regular tick, flea, and heartworm prevention is crucial. However, because certain parasite medications for dogs can be dangerous to cats, be sure to consult your vet before choosing the best product for your pet.
6. Get Regular Vaccinations
Pet vaccinations play an important role in keeping your furry pal healthy. Pet vaccinations not only help prevent various diseases in pets (including distemper and rabies) but can also help you avoid expensive veterinary treatments for preventable illnesses.
Vaccinating your cat or dog can also prevent the spread of certain diseases to your family. Certain state, local, or community, laws also require certain vaccines for household pets.
7. Never Give Pets Human Medications
Drugs made for human use can be very dangerous for your pet. In fact, ASPCA lists human medications in the top ten pet toxins, along with chocolate, human foods, plants, and household toxins.
NSAIDs like naproxen and ibuprofen are the most common culprits causing pet poisoning, but muscle relaxants, decongestants, and antidepressants can also be dangerous. Human medications can cause kidney damage, cardiac arrest, seizures, and even death.
If you suspect your furry friend has gotten its paws on your medications, be sure to call your vet right away.
Like humans, our canine and feline companions can enjoy a long and happy life, but they can’t do it alone. We hope these 7 tips will help you care for your pet and make sure they bring you many years of joyful companionship.