At Trooper Veterinary Hospital we know you love your pet and want to do all you can to ensure they stay happy and healthy throughout their lifetime. So, today our Norristown vets share a few tips on how to create a healthy environment and lifestyle for your four-legged friend.
Keeping Your Pet Happy & Healthy
We can lower our blood pressure and improve our overall mood by owning and caring for a pet we love, but how can you ensure that your pet receives the best possible care in return? Simply follow the simple instructions below:
1 - Create a Special Place for Your Animal to Relax
We all need a safe and comfy place to relax, and your pet is no different. Providing an area that has been created especially for your animal can be fun for you and give your pet a feeling of calm security. Most pets appreciate a space of their own, away from the hustle and bustle of busy children and/or other pets.
Cats often like a place to hide. Many cat towers include little hiding spots but simply putting a comfy blanket or towel into a cardboard box can help to create an ideal space for your cat to relax. Just be sure that your cat can get to their safe space whenever they want to get away.
The size of your dog will determine how special a place you can make for him. Some dogs prefer to relax in their own crate, while others prefer the solitude of a bed tucked into the corner of a small room like a laundry room. Your dog will undoubtedly give you hints about which rooms they prefer to relax in and which pieces of furniture they prefer.
2 - Provide Optimal Nutrition
To build a strong body and immune system, you must meet all of your pet's nutritional needs. Your dog or cat will require a diet that contains all of the necessary nutrients for their age, breed, and size to achieve and maintain good health. Each meal should be measured to ensure that your pet gets the right amount of calories to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Deciding what to feed your pet, as well as how much and how often can be overwhelming. No one understands your four-legged friend's nutritional requirements better than your vet. Speak to your veterinarian about the best food for your animal companion, and ask them to calculate the perfect portion size to suit your pet's needs.
3 - Daily Exercise to Improve the Health of Dogs & Cat
A happy dog is a tired dog. Taking long walks with your dog every day (rain or shine) helps to keep your dog's brain active and promotes physical fitness for both you and your pet. Regular exposure to new people, pets, noises, and smells while safely by your side can help your dog feel content from a young age. Long walks together can also help you build a strong and loving bond, as well as improve your fitness. For most breeds, two thirty-minute walks per day is a good starting point, but consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate level of exercise for your pet - and, of course, consult your doctor before beginning any new exercise program.
Cats need exercise too, especially indoor cats. Take the time to play with your feline friend every day to ensure that their body and mind stay active. Chasing a pretend mouse that is moved around by you, or even the dot of a laser pointer aimed at the floor (never aim a laser pointer at your cat), can be great fun for your kitty. If you spend most days out of the house, providing your cat with a cat tower or a treat-filled cat puzzle toy can help to keep your kitty amused and happy throughout the day.
4 - Help Your Pet Achieve & Maintain a Healthy Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight for your dog or cat's breed, age, and build will help them feel their best. Obesity in pets increases the risk of developing serious illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and painful joint problems. You should be able to keep your pet at a healthy weight for the rest of its life if you closely follow steps 2 and 3. Do you have any doubts about your pet's weight? Consult your veterinarian or a breeder to learn how much your dog or cat should weigh and how to help them achieve their ideal weight.
5 - Make Annual Dental Exams a Must
Your pet's oral health has a significant impact on their overall health. Your dog or cat will be in pain if they have gum disease, decayed or broken teeth, but these conditions can also have a negative impact on their overall health, leading to conditions like heart disease. Take your animal companion for regular dental cleanings and exams to help them maintain good oral health. Dental hygiene can help to prevent more serious conditions that can be expensive to treat.
6 - Keep Toxins Out of Your Pet's Reach
Many foods and medications that are safe for humans are extremely dangerous for pets. Chocolate, raisins, any foods or drinks containing the artificial sweetener xylitol, NSAIDs such as Ibuprofen and Naproxen, fabric softener sheets, some essential oils, bleach, and toilet cleaning pucks are a few common foods, medications, and household items that are poisonous to dogs. It's important to remember that your dog can be poisoned by a variety of foods and household items. To avoid tragic accidents, make sure to pet-proof your home every time you put away your groceries.
Although cats are typically less likely to eat things they shouldn't there are some foods you should keep well out of your cat's reach including chocolate, raisins, onions, garlic and alcohol. Do not feed your cat dog food and never ever give your cat human medications without consulting your veterinarian. It is also important to note that many common household and garden plants are toxic to cats. Although older cats tend to be wise enough to avoid plants that could make them ill, kittens may be attracted to fluttering leaves and stems. Be sure to do your research before adding a new plant to your home or garden.
7 - Keep Your Pet's Vaccines & Parasite Prevention Up To Date
Keeping your pet's vaccinations up to date and administering appropriate parasite prevention medications as needed can help to protect your pet from a variety of highly contagious and serious diseases that can harm your animal's long-term health and longevity. The vaccination and parasite prevention needs of your pet will be determined by their lifestyle. A hunting dog who spends a lot of time in tall grass and water, for example, will have very different needs than an indoor cat who lives in a New York apartment. Inquire with your veterinarian about which vaccines and parasite medications are appropriate for your pet.
It's important to note that in many states it is mandatory for all dogs and cats over 6 months of age to have up-to-date rabies vaccines. Do not skip your cat's annual vaccines just because they stay indoors. Speak to your vet for details on which vaccines and parasite prevention products are right for your feline homebody.
8 - Make Regular Pet Checkups Central to Your Pet's Yearly Preventive Care
Your vet is dedicated to keeping your pet healthy. By bringing your dog or cat in for physical checkups (wellness exams) your vet is able to take care of those essential vaccines, provide advice on nutrition, monitor your pet's weight, and watch for any developing health concerns.
Most healthy middle-aged pets should be seen once a year, but if your pet has an underlying health problem, is very young or elderly, your veterinarian may recommend visits every 6 months or more. Early detection of developing conditions allows treatment to begin when it is most effective. These checkups also allow your veterinarian to provide proactive treatments for elderly pets, which can help them feel more comfortable as they age.
The Bottom Line
Caring for a pet is a big responsibility, but following the eight simple steps above can help you form a strong emotional bond with your pet and give them the best chance at a long, happy, and healthy life.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.