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Be a responsible pet owner

Vet checking out some pets

Just like people, true wellness in pets means more than the absence of disease. It includes numerous physical, social, and emotional factors. As a pet owner, you can do the following things to provide your dog or cat with a long, healthy life in a stimulating and loving environment:

1. Your pet needs protection from parasites all year long, even if you live in a cold climate. Fleas, ticks, heartworm, and other pests can make life miserable for your dog or cat and can even be fatal in severe cases. Talk to your veterinarian about whether a collar, pill, spray, shampoo, or a combination of these products would be the best form of parasite control.

2. Bring your pet in for a preventive care check-up once a year even if she seems perfectly fine. Senior pets and those under a year old should visit the veterinarian more often. Your veterinarian will ask questions about your pet’s parasite control, eating and sleeping habits, behavior, and other general issues. This appointment is essential because it allows your veterinarian to diagnose, monitor, and treat potential health issues that might otherwise go undetected.

3. Commit to getting your pet his required vaccines on schedule. This prevents him from picking up contagious illnesses that could potentially be life-threatening. You may want to consider optional vaccines such as Lyme disease and feline leukemia if your pet has certain risk factors.

4. Spay or neuter your pet as soon as possible if you’re not planning to breed. Your veterinarian may be able to complete this simple surgery as early as five months of age. Not only does this prevent dozens of unwanted animals from being born, it protects your pet from certain types of cancer and reduces aggressive behavior associated with mating.

5. Dental hygiene is an important part of your pet’s well-being. Consistent brushing and regular oral care exams prevent gum disease, oral tumors, tooth loss, and other serious issues. Pets who lose teeth may not be able to chew their food adequately to get the nutrition they need.

6. Make sure you know where all your pet’s supplies are in case of emergency. Better yet, prepare an emergency kit ahead of time and practice evacuating the house with your pet. It should contain food, water, and medication to ensure her survival as well as toys and comfort items.

7. With over half of American dogs and cats overweight or obese, make sure that you feed your pet measured amounts of nutritious food and offer treats sparingly. Additionally, dogs need to walk daily and both dogs and cats need regular play time with you to remain active and content.

Your pet is part of your family and will thrive under your loving care. Be sure to partner with a local veterinarian to ensure a lifetime of wellness.


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