1. Collaborate with your vet
Your pet is best known to you! Your dog or cat will only gain when you combine your understanding of medicine with that of your veterinarian. When their pet is ill or hurt, most pet parents call their veterinarian right away, but preventive care is equally important.
For a total of three to four visits, young pups and kittens should visit the vet every three to four weeks to have their initial set of vaccinations and boosters, dewormings, and to be monitored for growth and development. When an adult reaches their senior years, twice-yearly examinations are essential so that problems related to aging can be discovered and treated as quickly as possible. Adults in the prime of their life typically need annual health appointments. Visits for wellness may include:
- doctor with a dog
- inspection of the body
- vaccines or vaccine titers
- testing for feline leukemia, feline immunodeficiency virus, and heartworms
- addressing the best ways to prevent ticks, fleas, and heartworm
- Deworming or feces examinations
- aiding with decisions regarding spay and neuter
- routine laboratory tests to evaluate blood cell counts, organ function, and more
- dental hygiene
2. Nutrition and physical activity
The most crucial thing you can do every day to keep your pet healthy and happy is to combine a balanced diet with regular exercise. Feed an age-appropriate, nutritionally adequate, and balanced diet. An AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) statement of nutritional sufficiency should be included on the label of commercial diets. If you decide to feed a diet that you create yourself, consult a veterinary nutritionist. The majority of recipes that can be found online or in books don’t give dogs and cats a healthy diet.
Don’t overfeed, though! The majority of dogs and cats are overweight, which increases their chance of developing a number of dangerous ailments. According to research, leaner animals live longer and in better health.
Additionally, pets require daily exercise to maintain a healthy body and stave off boredom. At least once every day, spend time with your dog or cat. Go on a walk with your dog and look for more things you may do with your pet. Look out for symptoms of potential health issues, such as limping or easily becoming tired.
3. Personal care and dentistry
Though different breeds have varied grooming requirements, such as a Maltese versus a Doberman or a Persian versus a Siamese, some fundamental guidelines still hold true:
a cat in orange being brushed
By the time they reach the age of three, the majority of pets have some form of dental disease. Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and toothpaste formulated for pets to brush your pet’s teeth every day. Veterinary Oral Health Council-approved alternate oral care items should be used if this isn’t achievable.
To get rid of shed fur, brush your pet’s coat at least once every week. Pets with long hair may require more frequent combing to avoid tangles and matting. Most animals enjoy being gently brushed, so this is a great chance to strengthen your bond with your pet as well as a chance to check for fleas, ticks, skin conditions, and any new lumps or bumps.
Healthy pets may only require bathing when they become filthy or begin to smell, but more frequent bathing may be necessary to address allergies or skin conditions.
Check your pet’s ears once a week for excess wax and dirt, and clean them if necessary. If you see infection-related symptoms like redness or discharge, seek medical attention.
Every month, check your pet’s nails and cut them if they become too long.
Seeing a professional groomer every six to eight weeks is often beneficial for pets with long hair or other particular grooming requirements.
The greatest strategy to stop behavioral issues that frequently cause owners to surrender their dogs and cats to animal shelters is through socialization. Give your pet as many fresh, positive experiences as you can, especially when they’re young. Ensure your pet gets adequate mental and physical exercise as well to keep them from misbehaving out of boredom or pent-up energy.
Training is also crucial. It serves several objectives to teach your pet (yes, cats are also welcome) tricks and fundamental instructions like “come,” “stay,” and “drop it”:
- Keeping animals secure under potentially hazardous circumstances
- providing much-needed mental and physical stimulation
- stronger connections between people and their pets
5. Think about pet insurance
Despite our best efforts, the majority of pets eventually get sick or hurt and need costly medical care. If not, it’s time to think about pet insurance. You might currently be able to afford anything your pet might want. The peace of mind that comes from knowing you can give your pet the care they require is absolutely valuable, and policies are available to match the majority of budgets.