The American Veterinary Medical Association declared February as National Pet Dental Health Month several years ago to underscore the importance of oral healthcare. Did you know that up to 80 percent of dogs and 70 percent of cats develop periodontal disease by the time they are three years old? This is alarming because untreated periodontal disease can cause infection by spreading to other areas of the body. It can also cause your pet to lose teeth, making it more difficult for him to chew food and get the nutrition he needs to remain healthy.
Now that the calendar has flipped to 2017, we at Glencoe Veterinary Clinic encourage you to commit to your pet’s wellness this year. Like many pet owners, you might assume your pet is fine if you don’t see any signs of illness. However, true animal wellness is more than the absence of pain or disease. To ensure your pet’s health, happiness, and longevity, commit to the following:
- Make sure that your dog, cat, or other type of pet gets the required vaccines for her species on time. Vaccinations prevent your pet from developing a serious or life-threatening illnesses. They also protect more vulnerable animals from picking up what would otherwise be a highly contagious virus. Optional vaccines are also available depending on your pet’s lifestyle, age, and species.
- Schedule an appointment for adult dogs and cats once a year and senior pets twice a year. Adults are between one and seven years old. Although your pet isn’t necessarily a senior by age seven, this is the average age that we start seeing age-related health and behavioral changes.
- Puppies and kittens need to come in several times during the first year for their vaccines and a health check. The preventive care exam allows us to detect and monitor your pet’s health issues as soon as possible. It also gives you the opportunity to discuss any concerns you have.
- Don’t overlook the importance of good oral hygiene. Not only does it prevent gum disease and other problems leading to tooth loss, it reduces the risks of diabetes and heart, kidney, and joint dysfunction. If you’re consistent with your routine and expectations, your pet should eventually accept having his teeth brushed.
- When you consider that millions of pets are euthanized annually because they can’t find a home, spaying or neutering your pet is just the right thing to do. Altering your dog or cat also stops aggressive mating behavior and reduces the risk of mammary gland or testicular cancer.
- Prepare an emergency kit for your pet in case of severe weather, fire, or another type of emergency. It’s better to gather her supplies and food in advance than panic in a sudden emergency and leave everything behind. The kit should contain several days’ worth of food and water, medications, toys, and bedding.
- Managing your pet’s weight is essential to her long-term health and longevity. That means feeding him nutritious food, limiting treats, and making sure that he gets enough exercise. Avoid pet foods with artificial fillers since these don’t provide any nutritional value.
- Protecting your pet from parasites has a huge effect on his quality of life. This includes both internal and external parasites such as fleas, ticks, and heartworm. Our veterinarians would be happy to recommend a specific product to control each type of parasite.
It takes time and effort to commit to these things, but it allows your pet to enjoy complete wellness. You also get to enjoy the gift of her companionship for years to come.
Your pet is a part of your family and you naturally want to include her in the holiday festivities, including giving her a new toy as a gift. At Glencoe Veterinary Clinic, we urge you to consider the following factors when choosing a present for your pet: