Tomorrow is World Health Day, and if you’re like us, you’re taking a moment to evaluate ways you AND your pet can get or stay healthy. While regular checkup with a trusted and qualified veterinarian are essential to keeping your pet in tip-top shape, these 5 things are an excellent foundation to start from.
- A balanced diet: This can be accomplished by finding the food that works best for your pet and following your veterinarian’s instructions. “Treats in moderation,” warns Dr. Lindquist. “You can reward your pet with affection, or a new toy. It doesn’t always have to be a treat – which most contain more fat and sugar than pets need in their diet.”
- Routine exercise: Or shall we say daily activity. A healthy pet needs to get up and get moving, every day. For cats, we think this is more difficult to accomplish, but it really isn’t. Playing with your cat, and encouraging them to jump, chase or roll around will increase their heart rate and blood flow in the body. For dogs, a walk around the block or fetching their favorite toy up and down the steps is great exercise. By allowing your pet to release their built up energy, they will rest better at the end of the day.
- Dental care: Your pet’s oral health is very important and should be evaluated annually. Brushing your pet’s teeth is great (if they will let you), but still, your healthy pet’s teeth and mouth need to be examined. Dental disease can lead to pain, abscesses, and heart problems, not to mention nutritional concerns resulting from your pet not being able to chew and digest their food.
- Senior Pets: For cats, and most small- and medium-sized dog breeds, pets over the age of 10 are considered senior and have more specific needs as they age. For some breeds, especially large breed dogs, they can be considered seniors around 7 years of age. There are steps you can take to improve your pet’s quality of life as they age. Start by taking them to their veterinarian on a regular basis, annual or even semi-annually. Your veterinarian can work with you on wellness habits and tips for older dogs and cats. Blood work can help identify problems early, helping to potentially lengthen your pet’s life. In addition, your veterinarian may recommend a joint supplement or a different diet, since senior pets typically require fewer calories. Stay in contact with your veterinarian and inform them of any concerns you may have.
- No wellness plan is complete without pet insurance. By having a pet insurance plan established for your pet at a young age, you can ensure a lifetime of less worry about veterinary expenses and focus your attention on getting your pet back on the path to wellness. Plans such as the Lifetime Plan cover chronic and hereditary conditions for the life of your pet as long as there isn’t any lapse in coverage.