Vet Advice: How to Keep Your Pet Healthy

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We all want our furry buddies to live long, happy and healthy lives.  And for that to happen, we need to start looking after our pet’s well-being the very second we adopt them.  How do we do that?  We asked our vet, Dr. Laura Wiles, for her advice on keeping pets healthy, starting on adoption day.  These are her top six tips:

1. Feed a high-quality dog/cat food. 

I recommend anything that has been tested in AAFCO feeding trials.  These foods have undergone extensive studies and are normally the higher quality food to feed.  Feed a diet appropriate to the pet’s age.  If you have a kitten or puppy, ensure that the diet states for ‘growth’ of the species. Feed your kitty a mixture of wet and dry foods at an early age.  Cats are very finicky and this will expose them to all types of food.  It will help in the long run if your pet needs a medical diet that only comes in “canned” or “dry.”  If you have a senior pet, check for “senior” or “over 7 years” on the label.

2. Schedule regular physical exams with your pet.

All pets need to be examined once a year.  Your veterinarian will evaluate all the body systems they can examine.  This includes teeth, ears, eyes, joints, abdomen, musculoskeletal system, skin, cardiac and respiratory systems.  Your vet will make recommendations to you about heartworm prevention (where appropriate) and flea and tick prevention.  And your pet will receive any needed vaccinations, heartworm testing, and fecal testing.  Finally, this is an excellent opportunity for pet parents to ask questions about the health and well-being of their pet.

3. Spay and neuter your pets!!

This prevents unwanted litters of puppies and kittens but is also beneficial for your pet’s health.  Spaying a female dog helps to prevent mammary cancers, and a life-threatening uterine infection known as pyometra.  Neutering a male dog helps prevent bad “boy” behaviors such as your furry friend lifting his leg in your house.  It also eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.  Please consult with your veterinarian about the appropriate age to spay and neuter your pets.

4. Microchip your pets.

No matter how careful you are, there’s always a chance your pet may slip out of the house, run away at the park or plain get lost.  A microchip placed under the skin by your veterinarian or local animal shelter will help rescuers ID your pet so they can return home.  If they’re not microchipped and end up as a stray at a shelter, they may be exposed to parasites, viruses, and infectious diseases.

5. Have your pet’s teeth cleaned as often as your veterinarian recommends.

This goes for dogs and cats.  Dental disease can lead to more serious problems in pets.  The bacteria that live in the mouth can travel to the heart, kidneys, and other organs and create problems there.  Regular dental cleanings will keep your pet’s mouth clean and breath fresh.  Feed them dental and rawhide chews between cleanings to keep the tartar accumulation down.  Buffalo Range All Natural Buffalo Rawhide Treats work very well to keep the tartar away on my little guys.  They love the chews to boot, so it’s a win-win!

5. Groom your pet regularly.

This is not only good for their hair and coat, but it’s a good bonding experience for you and your pet.  It also allows you to feel their bodies for any new lumps or bumps that may have arisen.   

6. Schedule regular playtime/exercise with your pet.

This is a bonding experience for you and your furry friend and creates stimulation to keep your pet’s brain active.  Exercise is good for everyone!  There are lots of ways to exercise indoor cats.  Play laser light games, fishing pole games, toy fetching, etc.  Give your pup lots of toys of various textures to try.  Mix it up with squeakers, soft and fluffy toys, rawhide chews, puzzle feeding bowls, and balls.  All these will enrich your pet’s environment and keep her from getting bored when you’re not home or don’t have time to play.

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Thanks, Dr. Wiles!  These are definitely tips we’ll be following and hope our readers will too.

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