As an important family member, your pet needs appropriate care to ensure they stay happy and healthy. The team at Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital recommends 10 best practices to keep your pet in tip top condition.
#1: Schedule regular wellness checks for your pet
Your pet has retained some instincts from their wild ancestors and will usually mask signs of pain and illness to prevent exhibiting vulnerability. This means your perfectly healthy appearing pet can be quite ill. Having a trained veterinary professional regularly perform a thorough physical exam and conduct health screening tests, such as bloodwork, urinalysis, and fecal tests, ensures your pet’s health issues will be caught early.
#2: Provide suitable nutrition for your pet
Feed your pet the correct amount of a balanced diet of quality food, and reward with treats sparingly—treats should account for less than 10% of their overall diet. Food is not love. Overfeeding your pet can lead to obesity, which is a leading cause of numerous diseases that can decrease their life expectancy. Keep your pet adequately hydrated by providing plenty of clean, fresh water, and wash their water bowls frequently. Cats especially are prone to kidney issues as they age, making hydration extremely important. Providing a water fountain may entice them to drink more.
#3: Provide appropriate exercise for your pet
All pets require physical exercise to keep them feeling fit and spry. If your pet is not used to regular exercise, start slowly, and gradually increase their activity level over several weeks. Your dog can enjoy nature hikes, vigorous games of fetch, and swimming in clean, safe water sources. You can convince your cat to get moving with laser pointers, wand-style toys, and cat towers. Some cats may enjoy running on a cat treadmill.
#4: Provide mental enrichment for your pet
In addition to physical exercise, your pet needs mental stimulation to keep their brain engaged. Introducing your pet to new sights, smells, and sounds keeps them captivated. Offering treats in a food-puzzle toy is a great way to encourage them to use their brain and be rewarded. An easily accessible window look-out area to watch birds and squirrels can help mentally stimulate your pet. Quality time spent with your pet shows your affection, and improves their overall wellbeing.
#5: Keep your pet current on vaccinations
Vaccines protect your pet from life-threatening diseases. Your pet should begin a vaccination protocol at 6 to 8 weeks of age, and then receive yearly boosters once their initial series is complete. In addition to the core vaccines, your pet may require elective vaccines. Our team at Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital is happy to determine the best vaccine protocol for your pet.
#6: Administer regular preventive medication to your pet
Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes pose a threat to your pet. Not only are they excessively irritating, but these parasites also carry dangerous diseases that can severely disrupt your pet’s quality of life. Administer year-round preventives for fleas, ticks, and heartworms to protect your pet from these creepy crawlies and the diseases they transmit.
#7: Schedule regular dental cleanings for your pet
Most pets have some degree of dental disease by age 3. Dental disease can cause your pet significant pain in the form of inflamed, infected, and loose teeth. Bacteria that build up in your pet’s mouth can also migrate through their bloodstream and harm other organs, especially their heart and kidneys. Brushing your pet’s teeth daily will help improve their dental hygiene, but they will also require a thorough veterinary dental evaluation and cleaning. Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital is accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association and offers exceptional oral health services.
#8: Perform appropriate grooming practices
In addition to brushing your pet’s teeth, they need other regular hygiene protocols, such as their nails trimmed every two weeks, and their coat brushed several times a week, especially if they have long hair. Also, your dog’s ears should be cleaned once a month, or once a week if they are a breed with long, floppy ears.
#9: Spay or neuter your pet
Spaying or neutering your pet decreases their risk for several serious disease processes, including cancerous tumors. These procedures can also provide behavioral benefits to your pet. Female cats will be prevented from going into heat, a condition that causes them to be more irritable, and prone to loud vocalization and urine spraying. Intact males are more likely to roam far from home and show more aggression toward other dogs and people.
#10: Know what is normal for your pet
Pay close attention to your pet, examining their eyes, ears, mouth, chest, abdomen, legs, and tail, and watch for changes in their behavior, appetite, and sleeping habits. Knowing your pet’s normal anatomy and their typical habits will help you notice when something is wrong. Your pet will have a better chance of overcoming a problem that is addressed promptly.
By following these best practices, you can help ensure your pet stays happy and healthy for a long time. If you would like to schedule a wellness exam or discuss other aspects of your pet’s wellbeing, contact our Fear Free team at Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital.