Practicing preventive care for pets is an important part of responsible pet parenting. Dogs and cats are susceptible to many chronic and serious diseases. These diseases can lower quality of life and even shorten life spans.
The good news? We dog and cat lovers can begin taking action steps today to help our pets avoid illness and live longer, fuller lives. Here are 10 household hints for keeping pets free of disease.
1. Control food intake. Dogs and cats that overeat or eat unhealthy foods will likely become overweight and at risk for many diseases including diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and arthritis. Good nutrition and limiting food intake when necessary are keys to good health.
2. Clean pet teeth. Periodontal disease is common in dogs as they age and can lead to tooth loss and infections that damage major organs downstream. Experts recommend cleaning pet’s teeth on a daily basis and getting regular professional attention. To avoid hidden dangers, please make sure (Read the label!) your choice of cat and dog oral care spray is alcohol free.
3. Keep active. Inactivity not only harms a pet’s physical health, it can lead to depression and anxiety which often results in destructive behavior. At least 20 to 30 minutes of daily exercise — like brisk walks, swimming, or doing dog sports — can do wonders for a dog’s long-term health.
4. Spay or neuter. Unspayed female dogs are more prone to developing mammary tumors and ovarian cancers than spayed females. Likewise, unneutered male dogs have a heightened risk of prostate and testicular cancers. Spaying and neutering can help dogs and cats avoid life-threatening diseases. The procedure is simple and painless and arguably one of the best exercises in preventive care for pets.
5. Research health background. Unfortunately, many dogs (and cats to a lesser degree) are susceptible to certain diseases just because of their breed and genetics. Owners who know the health background of their pets can provide the proper care necessary to maximize health and longevity. For example, cataracts in dogs are in part hereditary and occur more frequently in some breeds than others.
6. Get yearly vet checks. A veterinarian can evaluate a cat or dog’s overall health and diagnose and treat problems before they become more serious. Just as important as early detection of pet health problems is the holistic practice of treating a pet’s wellness as a way of preventing the consequent sickness. Whenever possible, find a holistic veterinarian.
7. Give nutritional supplements. Dogs and cats that eat a “nutritious” commercial pet food still need vitamin, mineral and herbal supplements. Big business advertising often gets more budget than the actual food formula. Honest, natural nutrition is simply not part of most popular pet foods. Choose a quality vitamin/mineral pet supplement, and remember the wisdom of giving a daily multi-herbal.
8. Let pets out often. Although most indoor dogs and cats learn to hold their urine for long periods of time, doing so can lead to kidney and bladder problems down the road. A pet that is allowed to eliminate often is better off even if it means asking a neighbor to let it outside.
9. Make the yard safe. A safe yard for a dog or cat is one that is free of chemicals, poisonous plants, and harmful animals, all of which can do damage to a pet’s health. Dog and cat owners should also be on the lookout for fleas and ticks, since they can transmit serious diseases to dogs. Please choose an all-natural flea and tick spray for dogs and cats, or a special flea spray for cats and kittens.
10. Bond. In addition to other benefits, bonding promotes health in dogs, cats and humans. Bonding activities that help ward off disease include massage, which improves circulation and removes toxins, aromatherapy, and bathing or grooming, which helps in detecting skin and coat problems.
Follow the above hints and help give your dog or cat the life it deserves—one that’s happy, healthy, and long.