As a pet owner, you want nothing more than to keep your furry friend happy and healthy. But at times, it’s tough to know exactly what that entails. After all, your pet can’t tell you when they’re not feeling well or what they need to stay healthy.
That’s where your veterinarian comes in. They’re the experts (such as the vets at Mountain View Veterinary Hospital) on animal health, and they’re always there to help you give your pet the best possible care.
But what do vets wish pet owners knew? Here are a few things:
Get to know your animal’s “normal.”
This means taking note of things like their energy levels, appetite, bathroom habits, etc. That way, you can tell more easily when something isn’t quite right.
Also, don’t wait until your pet is sick to take them to the vet. It’s crucial to keep up with regular check-ups and preventive care (like vaccinations) to help avoid problems down the road. Plus, it’s easier and less expensive to treat problems when they’re caught early.
Dogs and cats age differently.
A dog’s age is similar to a human’s age in that they mature quickly and then age more slowly. For example, a one-year-old dog is approximately the equivalent of a 15-year-old human. This means they are considered senior citizens when they reach seven years old.
On the other hand, Cats age more like humans in that they mature slowly and then age quickly. A one-year-old cat is approximately the equivalent of a 16-year-old human. So by the time they reach seven years old, they are considered elderly.
Spay or neuter your pet.
This has been a controversial subject whether or not to spay or neuter pets. Some pet owners believe that it is cruel to do so because it means altering their animal’s natural state. However, there are many good reasons to spay or neuter your pet.
According to a study by the University of Georgia published in 2013 based on the medical records of 70,000 animal patients, they found out that the life expectancy of neutered male dogs was 13.8 percent longer. Similarly, they saw that the life expectancy of spayed female cats was 26.3 percent longer.
In addition, millions of shelter animals are euthanized because there are simply not enough homes for them all. Spaying or neutering your pet helps reduce this problem.
Moreover, spaying or neutering can help improve your pet’s health. For example, female dogs spayed before their first heat cycle are much less likely to develop mammary cancer later in life. The risk of prostate cancer is also reduced for neutered male dogs.
Feed your pet a balanced diet.
Chubby pets are cute, but being overweight can lead to health problems like diabetes, arthritis, and respiratory difficulties. So make sure you’re feeding your pet a healthy diet appropriate for their age, activity level, and breed.
You can ask your vet what type of food is best for your pet and how much to feed them. Like humans, every animal is different, so there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer.
Furthermore, make sure to incorporate exercise into your pet’s routine. A healthy diet is only part of the equation – regular exercise is essential for keeping your pet happy and healthy.
Don’t forget dental care.
Pets need veterinary dentistry services to prevent oral disease, just like us humans. Dental disease is among the usual health problems in pets, yet it is also one of the most preventable.
Start brushing your pet’s teeth when they are young to get used to it. Use a pet-specific toothbrush and toothpaste (never use human toothpaste on your pet as it can make them sick). You can also give them dental chews or treats to help keep their teeth clean.
Ultimately, the best way to keep your pet’s teeth healthy is to take them to the vet for regular dental cleanings.
Be cautious with human medications.
Don’t try to give your pet any medication without first consulting your veterinarian. Even something as harmless as ibuprofen can be toxic to animals.
The same goes for human food. Many safe foods for humans can be poisonous to pets. For example, chocolate is toxic to dogs and onions can cause anemia in cats due to their organic compounds called disulfides and thiosulphates.
On the other hand, chocolates contain a caffeine-like chemical called theobromine that can be toxic to dogs because they cannot metabolize as humans do. To be safe, always ask your veterinarian first.
Get pet insurance.
Pet insurance can be a lifesaver when your animal gets sick or injured, and you need to pay for expensive vet bills. It is becoming increasingly popular as people realize how beneficial it can be.
For instance, if your pet needs surgery, the costs can be upwards of $2,000. If you have pet insurance, you will only be responsible for a small percentage of that bill, and the insurance company will cover the rest. Just make sure to choose an animal clinic or hospital that accepts your pet insurance.
Also, you don’t want to travel for hours to your vet, especially if it’s an emergency. The best thing to do is find one within your community. Ask for recommendations or look online by searching “vet surgeon near me.” This way, you are confident that you can arrive at the clinic promptly.
A complete vaccine is not enough, so they need booster shots.
Pet owners often think that once their animal is vaccinated, they are protected against all diseases. However, this is not the case. Vaccines only protect for a finite period of time, after which they need to be booster shots.
For example, most puppies need a series of vaccinations starting at around six weeks old. They will then need booster shots every 3-4 weeks until they are 16 weeks old. After that, they will need annual booster shots to maintain their immunity.
Talk to your vet about how often your pet needs to be vaccinated, and make sure you keep up with their boosters.