Proper pet care is the basis of responsible pet ownership. It is important when you adopt a pet to understand it is a lifetime commitment to a furry family member that depends on you for his or her health and well-being.
Happily, the unconditional love and joy that pets bring to our lives more than make up for the added responsibility that comes with welcoming a furry child to your family. To ensure your pet’s health and happiness, the following are the necessities that all responsible pet owners need to provide.
Regular Exams are Vital
Just like you, your pet can get heart problems, develop arthritis, or have a toothache. The best way to prevent such problems or catch them early is to see your veterinarian every year. It is very important to have dog insurance.
Regular exams are the single most important way to keep pets healthy. Annual vet visits should touch on nutrition and weight control, as well as cover recommended vaccinations, parasite control, dental exam, and health screenings.
Fleas are the most common external parasite that can plague pets, and they can lead to irritated skin, hair loss, hot spots, and infection. Fleas can also introduce other parasites into your cat or dog. All it takes is for your pet to swallow one flea, and it can end up with tapeworms, the most common internal parasite affecting dogs and cats.
Because some parasite medications made for dogs can be fatal to cats, talk to your vet about keeping your precious pets worm-free, flea-free — and safe.
Maintain a Healthy Weight
Many dogs and cats are overweight or obese. And just like people, obesity in pets comes with health risks that include diabetes, arthritis, and cancer.
Overfeeding is the leading cause of obesity, says Douglas, who adds that keeping our pets trim can add years to their lives.
Because pets need far fewer calories than most of us think — as little as 185-370 a day for a small, inactive dog; just 240-350 calories daily for a 10-pound cat — talk to your vet, who can make feeding suggestions based on your pet’s age, weight, and lifestyle.
Get Regular Vaccinations
For optimal health, pets need regular vaccinations against diseases such as rabies, distemper, feline leukemia, and canine hepatitis.
How often your dog or cat needs to be immunized depends on their age, lifestyle, health, and risks so talk to your vet about the vaccinations that make sense for your pet.
Pets Need Dental Care, Too
Just like you, your pet can suffer from gum disease, tooth loss, and tooth pain. And just like you, regular brushing and oral cleanings help keep your pet’s teeth strong and healthy
Pets need healthy food
Just like people, pets need food that meets their specific nutritional needs. Dog foods are designed to meet a dog’s nutritional needs and cat foods are designed to meet a cat’s nutritional needs. Importantly, their dietary needs are very different. Puppies require different food from senior dogs. Pet’s with health issues may require special diets. Table scraps are typically not good for dogs and cats because many of the foods we eat, such as salt, garlic, and onions are bad for your pet’s health and can make them sick or even be fatal.