Is Your Pet’s Health a Priority?

April 2019

Is Your Pet’s Health a Priority?

In today’s busy world, it’s easy to bump seemingly non-urgent pet-care tasks to the bottom of your to-do list. Of course, you’d never forgo the necessities, such as feeding your pets, refilling their water bowls and giving them some daily love. But are you prioritizing their health too? Incorporate these four tips on National Pet Day (April 11, 2019) and throughout the year to put your pet’s health front and center.

Schedule a Yearly Exam

When was the last time your pet saw a veterinarian? If you opted to give your pet the three-year rabies vaccine, you might think it’s okay to skip those two years in between. Don’t.

Pets can’t communicate when they’re not feeling well. A yearly exam can prevent serious illness and prolong your pet’s life. Some diseases, such as kidney disease, diabetes or heart problems, can be detected early, before irreparable damage is done.

If your pet gets anxious going to the vet, or if you are physically unable to get there, ask your veterinarian if he or she offers house calls. Mobile veterinary clinics may sometimes also provide diagnostic services, such as x-rays. If cost is a problem, the Humane Society has a list of national organizations that can help you afford health care for your pet.

Brush Your Pet’s Teeth

Doggie breath isn’t just a yuck factor. Bad breath in dogs and cats can be the sign of serious oral disease, which can cause pain and weight loss because it hurts to chew. As in humans, oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream, contributing to other health issues, such as heart disease. The American Veterinary Medical Association recommends brushing your pet’s teeth daily, as well as yearly professional dental cleanings.

Watch Their Weight

Pet obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States. Sixty percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs are obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). Obesity can have serious consequences for your pets: It can reduce life expectancy and is associated with serious illness, such as renal failure, heart disease and cancer. Your veterinarian can help you develop a weight loss plan that’s suited to your pet’s age and health. APOP also offers online pet weight loss tools to help you get Fido and Fluffy back in tip-top shape. And go easy on rewarding your pets with table food or treats, which are often higher in calorie than regular pet food.

Make Fun a Priority

Your pet’s health also includes their mental health. In the wild, animals balance rest with activity. Providing your pets with a way to release their energy keeps them happy and may even prevent destructive behavior, like chewing furniture. Exercise also keeps your pet from packing on the pounds. Break up your usual dog-walking routine with some new adventures. Techwalla recommends these four apps for finding dog-friendly parks, beaches and other locales you both can enjoy. Cats need exercise too, and Pet Life Today has a review of the best interactive cat toys.

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