October may be mostly about ghosts and goblins, but it also marks another significant and distinctly less eerie event, National Pet Wellness Month. Keeping up with your dog or cat’s wellness care needs is an essential step in maintaining their health and helping them enjoy several happy years by your side. And while you probably do not need a reminder to take care of your furry family members, brushing up on your knowledge and making sure you’re doing everything possible to stay on top of your pet’s wellness care never hurts.
As veterinarians, we believe that preventative care is crucial for our cat and canine companions. As a loving pet parent, you’re likely always on the lookout for ways to give your beloved companion the best life possible. That’s why we put together this blog post with some helpful tips for celebrating National Pet Wellness Month and staying on top of your dog or cat’s routine wellness care needs all year long.
Provide Appropriate Nutrition
Obesity is an epidemic among American pets. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 56% of dogs and 60% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. While those extra pounds might look cute, they take a severe toll on your pet’s health. Feeding your dog or cat an appropriate diet is a crucial component of wellness care. Unfortunately, many people feel overwhelmed when faced with all the options in the pet food aisle. As your pet’s veterinarian, we are here to help you make the right nutritional choices for your dogs and cats. From selecting the right product to providing guidance on how much and how often to feed them, we’ll ensure you provide the nutrition your cat or dog needs.
In addition, be mindful when giving your pet treats, and avoid giving them table scraps. When you can’t say no to those sad puppy dog eyes, reach for a healthy snack like a raw carrot instead of giving them a fatty treat.
Giving your pet a well-balanced and correctly portioned diet will help them maintain a healthy weight and keep several health problems at bay.
Take Care of Those Chompers
Don’t forget about your pet’s teeth! While often overlooked, dental care is a crucial component of routine wellness care. Just like you and your human family members, your pet can suffer from discomfort and pain due to poor dental health. Periodontal disease is prevalent among dogs and cats, and when left untreated, the consequences can be dire.
Without treatment, infections originating in the mouth can spread throughout the pet's body via the bloodstream, possibly damaging the following:
- The heart
- The kidneys
- The liver
Sadly, untreated periodontal disease is a leading cause of premature death in dogs and cats.
We recommend scheduled annual dental exams and cleanings for your loyal companion. During their dental appointment, we’ll carefully examine and clean their teeth above and below the gumline. We’ll also tend to any seriously damaged or diseased teeth that require removal. Between appointments, you can take care of your pet’s teeth by brushing them at home and giving them dental chews and toys.
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Regular exercise is good for both you and your pet, and it doesn’t have to be difficult or tedious. If the usual stroll around the neighborhood sounds more like a chore than a reward, spend some time playing fetch with your canine companion. Running an obstacle course together is a great option, too.
And don’t forget—your cat needs exercise, too! Some felines love donning a harness and leash and walking, and others prefer indoor fun. Find toys that grab your cat’s interest, and make playtime a part of your daily routine. Whether it’s chasing a laser, playing with a feather toy, or any other type of play, keeping your feline friend engaged in daily physical activity is great for their long-term health.
Stay Up-to-Date on Pest Preventatives
Pests like mosquitoes, fleas, and ticks are more than just a nuisance. They are detrimental to your pet’s health. Mosquitoes carry heartworm, which causes severe health complications in pets. And in addition to causing some significant itchiness, fleas can transmit tapeworm to pets when ingested. Plus, severe flea infestations can cause everything from skin infections and fur loss to anemia.
As you likely know, ticks carry several devastating illnesses, including Lyme Disease, that takes a serious toll on pets’ health. Because parasites can have such devastating effects on your pet’s health, prevention is critical. Even during cooler weather, it is essential to keep your pet on safe and effective parasite preventatives. Unfortunately, many of the products sold in pet stores and big-box retailers are far from safe. The best way to protect your pet is by purchasing these products directly from their veterinarian.
Schedule a Wellness Visit
If it has been a while since your pet’s last checkup, now is an excellent time to schedule a wellness visit. As your dog or cat’s veterinarian, we’re here to ensure they are up-to-date on vaccinations and parasite control. We’ll also perform a comprehensive exam to search for signs of trouble, as catching any illness or disease earlier rather than later nearly always carries a better prognosis.
When it comes to keeping your pet healthy, there’s no better option than staying on top of their wellness care needs. To schedule your cat or dog’s appointment, give us a call today. We look forward to speaking with you!