7 Tips to a Healthier Pet

Working with pets and teaching Walks ‘N’ Wags Pet First Aid, I hear a lot of questions and concerns regarding keeping our pets healthy.  Although there are no guarantees with health, there are some tips that we can do to support a healthy life with our pets.  These are just some of the items we cover in class as we discuss much more items in depth.

1.   Regular Vet Care - Veterinarians are there not only for emergencies but to guide you on proper nutrition, medical treatments and day to day preventative care.  Usually it is less expensive to prevent a disease than treat it if it has been left undiagnosed. 

2.   Vaccinations – vaccinations can prevent a disease such as Rabies which attacks the brain and nervous system.  Frequency of vaccinations should be discussed with your vet as over the past few years theories have changed on whether or not they should be given annually or can be left longer. *Rabies is still every three years*

3.   Neutering and Spaying -   The advantages outweigh the disadvantages on this topic.  It prevents unwanted litters, reduces aggression and reduces risk of certain Cancers.  Just a few of the major advantages.  The disadvantages; eliminates breeding, prevents having the pet in a showing as they require intact animals and requires surgery with anaesthetic.

4.   Exercise - It is essential to maintaining good health.  It helps prevent obesity, reduces the risk of heart disease, decreases risk of diabetes and also increases your health when you walk them!  The amount of exercise depends on the health of your pet, age and breed.  Your cat needs to exercise as well.  Sure you might not take them out for a walk but why not try the laser pointer or other cat toy that gets them moving.

5.   Teeth and Gum care – It will not only prevent bad breath but also help in preventing gum infections, preventing infections entering the bloodstream and ultimately affecting the organs.  With proper technique and practice you will be able to brush your dog/cat’s teeth on a regular basis.  *Remember to never use human toothpaste as it can poison your pet*

6.   Nutrition – There are a variety of vet brands and commercial made pet food that can be great choices for your pet.  Consider these things when looking at food:  The breed of your pet, your pet’s age, how active they are, their current health and the food’s ingredients.  You also need to be comfortable in what you can afford for your pet.  No one expects you to spend more on your pet’s food than what you can afford to spend on your own food.

7.   Environment – Always provide clean water; think about it, would you drink from the same glass with the same water for days?  Clean that litter box!  Clean bedding regularly as dirty bedding can hide things like fleas and parasites.  Ensure they have adequate shelter for the elements.  We all know how Calgary can have the four seasons in 24 hours.

Each of these 7 tips are very important and can help increase the likelihood of your pet having a long, happy and healthy life with you.