One bad thing about pets is that many don’t live nearly as long as they should. Our time with our pets always seems too short, and many leave us too soon. To help keep your beloved companion by your side or in your lap for as long as possible, stay on top of routine preventive care that will help keep her healthy, and minimize her disease risk.

#1: Vaccinations prevent your pet from contracting diseases

Most pet owners are aware of the benefits of vaccinations, but may not realize that they are so important, they claim the No. 1 spot in ways to keep pets healthy. Pet vaccinations may have received a bad rap in the past, when many veterinary practices used a one-size-fits-all vaccination protocol, but our standards are much higher. We tailor your pet’s vaccination protocol to fit her lifestyle, and we avoid any unnecessary vaccinations, ensuring your pet is protected only against the pathogens she may be exposed to. For example, your dog may need a Bordetella vaccination if she is going to spend time around other dogs in an enclosed space, such as a boarding facility. Or, your cat may need a leukemia vaccination if you foster cats or rescue strays. During your pet’s wellness visit, we will discuss her lifestyle and exposure risk to ensure she remains safe, while avoiding unnecessary vaccinations.

#2: Parasite prevention prevents your pet from insect-borne diseases

Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are much more than an irritating nuisance. While their bites are unpleasant, the disease pathogens they transmit with those bites are much more troublesome.

  • Fleas — A flea infestation can lead to anemia, raw skin from hypersensitivity, or tapeworm infection.
  • Ticks — Ticks can transmit a variety of diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis. They also transmit Lyme disease, which we rarely see in our area, but if your dog travels, she may be exposed to this disease in other parts of the country.
  • Mosquitoes — Year-round parasite prevention can also protect your pet from mosquitoes and the deadly heartworms they transmit.

These three parasites can spring forth if the temperature is above 35 degrees, so the winter season does not protect your pet against them. Preventive products also contain intestinal parasite-deworming ingredients to help your pet shed roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms, and whipworms. 

#3: Environmental enrichment mentally stimulates your pet and reduces physical issues

Bored pets get into trouble, perhaps by destroying your new couch, picking fights with their housemates, or experiencing urinary issues. Your pet can become stressed from lack of environmental enrichment, mental stimulation, and physical exercise, which can lead to a variety of health issues. Bored pets can become anxious, over-groom, eliminate inappropriately, and overeat, so resolve to make 2020 more fulfilling and enriching for your furry best friend. Add climbing towers and scratching posts for your kitty, and provide interactive toys for play. For your pup, hike different trails, feed from food puzzles, or sign up for an agility or training course to learn new skills. 

#4: Proper nutrition is the foundation for your pet’s strong body and healthy immune system

It’s no secret that you are what you eat. The same holds true for your pet. A high quality diet will go a long way toward ensuring she remains in top condition and in good health to fight off disease. Proper nutrition and feeding will also keep your pet at a healthy weight, which will reduce her chances of developing diabetes, osteoarthritis, heart disease, and some cancers. During your pet’s wellness visit, let’s talk about the best diet to keep her healthy. 

#5: Dental care prevents pain and the spread of bacteria in your pet’s mouth

A healthy mouth may not seem important to your pet’s overall well-being, but it is critical in preventing painful gingivitis, tooth-root abscesses, bone loss, and pathological jaw fractures. An overload of oral bacteria can also seep into your pet’s bloodstream and travel throughout her body, attacking the heart, liver, and kidneys, and causing systemic disease. At-home dental care includes toothbrushing, dental chews and treats, and occasionally a prescription dental diet for pets genetically prone to developing plaque and tartar. Clinical care involves an oral exam during your pet’s wellness visit to grade her level of dental disease—up to 85% of pets have some dental disease by age 3. We will also recommend a professional dental-cleaning regimen. While you may be most appreciative of your pet’s fresh breath, know that a shiny smile also means that your pet is free from dangerous oral bacteria. 

Help make 2020 your pet’s healthiest year yet by scheduling her wellness exam at our hospital. We’d love to share advice on how to keep your pet in tip-top shape all year long.