A pet (or mascot) is a domestic animal selected for living with humans: So if you have one in your home, know that it deserves the utmost care just as you do.
1. Regular checkups are vital
Like you, your pet may have heart problems , develop arthritis or have a toothache. The best way to avoid these problems or to detect them earlier is to see your vet every year.
Regular checkups are the most important way to keep animals healthy. Annual visits to the veterinarian should address nutrition and weight control, as well as covering recommended vaccines, parasite control, dental examinations and health examinations.
2. Spay and neuter your pets
Eight to 10 million pets end up in shelters in the U.S. every year. Some are lost, some have been abandoned and some are homeless.
Here is an easy way to avoid increasing that number: sterilize and neutralize your dogs and cats. It is a procedure that can be performed from six to eight weeks of age.
Neutering and spaying does not just reduce the number of unwanted animals; it has other substantial benefits for your pet. Studies show that it also reduces the risk of certain types of cancer and reduces the risk of a pet getting lost, decreasing the tendency to wander.
3. Prevent Parasites
Fleas are the most common external parasite that can infest pets and can lead to irritated skin, hair loss, hot spots and infection. Fleas can also introduce other parasites to your cat or dog. It is enough that the animal swallows a flea and can end up with tapeworms, the most common internal parasite that affects dogs and cats.
Prevention throughout the year is essential. Regular control of fleas and intestinal parasites, as well as prevention of heartworm disease in endemic areas is important.
Since some parasitic medications made for dogs can be fatal to cats, talk to your veterinarian about keeping your precious pets without worms, without fleas – and safe.
4. Maintain a healthy weight
Many dogs and cats are overweight or obese. And, like people, obesity in pets poses health risks that include diabetes, arthritis and cancer.
Overfeeding is the main cause of obesity, says Douglas, who adds that keeping our pets in good shape can add years to their lives.
Because pets need a lot less calories than many think – as little as 185-370 a day for a small, inactive dog; just 240-350 calories per day for a 10-pound cat – talk to your veterinarian, who can make feeding suggestions based on your pet’s age, weight and lifestyle.
5. Get regular vaccinations
For optimal health, animals need regular vaccines against diseases such as rabies, cramps, feline leukemia and canine hepatitis.
The frequency with which your dog or cat needs to be immunized depends on age, lifestyle, health and risks; therefore, talk to your veterinarian about vaccines that make sense for your pet.
6. Provide an enriched environment
An enriched environment is another key to the long-term health and well-being of your canine and feline friends.
Pets need mental stimulation, which can mean daily walks on your dog, and scratches, perches on windows and toys for your cat. This means playing time with you, which not only keeps your pet’s muscles toned and dull, but also strengthens your bond with your four-legged companions.
7. Microchip and tattoo your pet
Lack of identification means that only 14% of pets find their way home after getting lost. Fortunately, the microchip and / or the tattoo can allow the animal to meet with yours.
The size of a grain of rice, a microchip is inserted under the skin in less than a second. It doesn’t need a battery and can be scanned by a veterinarian or animal control officer in seconds.
8. Pets also need dental care
Like you, your pet may suffer from gum disease, tooth loss and toothache. And, like you, regular brushing and mouth cleaning help keep your pet’s teeth strong and healthy.
Dental disease is one of the most common preventable diseases in pets, but many people don’t even look at the animal’s mouth. It is estimated that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats show signs of dental disease at the age of three, leading to abscesses, loose teeth and chronic pain. In addition to regular dental cleaning by your veterinarian, periodontal disease can be prevented by proper dental care. Owner care includes brushing, mouth rinsing and dental treatment.
9. Never give medication to pet people
Medicines made for humans can kill your pet. In fact, in 2010 the ASPCA listed human drugs among the top 10 toxins for pets.
NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and naproxen are the most common culprits for pet poisoning, but antidepressants, decongestants, muscle relaxants and acetaminophen are just some of the human drugs that pose risks to pets’ health. Human drugs can cause kidney damage, seizures and cardiac arrest in a dog or cat.
If you suspect your pet has consumed its medication – or anything toxic – call your vet.
10. Proper restraint on a vehicle
You fasten your seat belt when you’re in the car, shouldn’t your pet? Unrestricted pets in a car are a distraction for the driver and can put the driver and pet at risk of serious injury. To keep pets safe in transit:
- Never allow pets to travel in the front seat, where they risk serious injury or death if the airbag is deployed.
- Do not let dogs walk their heads out the window or loose in the back of a truck. Both practices put them at risk of being launched from the vehicle in the event of an accident.
- To keep pets safe, confine cats to carriers and secure the carrier with a seat belt. For dogs, there is the option of a special harness attached to the seat belt or a well-protected kennel.