If you own a pet, it’s likely that keeping that pet healthy is of utmost importance to you. Here are some tips to help.
Feed Your Pet a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet consists of a food that is balanced and complete for your pet’s life stage. Your dog or cat’s diet must provide all the nutrients that your pet needs in order to thrive without excesses or deficiencies.
There are many high quality diets available. Learn how to read a pet food label. Don’t fall prey to marketing gimmicks. Remember that high cost does not, in this case, necessarily translate to higher quality.
Check with your veterinarian for a recommendation about which food is most appropriate for your pet.
Don’t Overfeed Your Dog or Cat
Obesity is the most common nutritional disease in both dogs and cats today. Veterinarians estimate that over 50% of the pets they examine are either overweight or obese.
Ask your veterinarian to evaluate your pet’s weight and body condition. Learn how to do so yourself as well. Feed your pet to maintain a lean body weight.
Make Sure Your Pet Gets Exercise
Exercise will help keep your dog or cat at a healthy weight. It also helps keep muscles and joints healthy.
Tailor your dog or cat’s exercise plan to meet their individual needs. For instance, for a five pound Chihuahua, a walk around the block two to three times daily might be sufficient. However, for a larger dog like a Labrador Retriever, a walk around the block is probably just getting started. Interactive toys are a great way to get your cat to exercise.
Identify Your Pet
In case of an emergency, your pet needs identification. This may be in the form of an identification tag or it may be a microchip. Ideally, both forms of identification will be used.
Be sure to keep your personal information up-to-date on your pet’s identification, whether it be on an identification tag or through a microchip database. (Microchips need to be registered with a database to be effective!) Provide a telephone number where you can be reached. A mobile phone number is ideal.
It’s also a good idea to carry a current photo of your pet for identification purposes.
Your Pet Needs Regular Veterinary Care
Your pet needs to have regular veterinary care which includes a thorough physical examination. This is true for cats as well as dogs. Your pet should visit the veterinarian once yearly at a minimum. Twice is preferred and pets with chronic health issues may need even more frequent visits.
Your Dog or Cat Needs Regular Dental Care
Dental care is an important part of keeping your pet healthy. Dental disease can cause bad breath, pain, and serious systemic disease such as heart and kidney problems for your pet.
Brushing your pet’s teeth is the most effective way to care for your pet’s teeth at home. However, dental treats can also be helpful in controlling dental disease.
Prevent Parasites for Your Pet
Preventing parasites such as heartworms, fleas, ticks and intestinal parasites is essential to your pet’s health. These parasites can not only make your pet sick in their own right but fleas and ticks can also carry other diseases that can be transmitted to your pet. Prevention is generally much easier and safer than trying to treat your pet for a parasitic infection or infestation.