Contributed by the Nakusp Veterinary Clinic
Ten Tips for Pet Health
1. Choose your pet wisely. Different breeds vary widely in their temperament, activity level and potential health problems. Think about your lifestyle: Are you going to be able to keep a highly-energetic dog happy, for example?
2. Give your pet a healthy lifestyle, including exercise for both cats and dogs, and social time with other family members. Dogs need to be trained to be good citizens so that they can enjoy a fully social lifestyle. Put the time in to make this possible. Many dogs are euthanized because of aggression due to some combination of poor breed choice, lack of socialization and poor training.
3. Keep your pet safe: Keep cats indoors at night (or all the time), keep dogs at home instead of running loose, and travel safely in vehicles with your pets. The most common cause of poisoning seen at Nakusp Veterinary Clinic is moulds from eating compost or garbage. We also see legs broken from jumping out of the back of trucks, and bite wounds. These are all preventable.
4. Avoid obesity: It is by far the most common nutritional problem in our pets and it predisposes to diseases such as diabetes and arthritis (sound familiar?). Start planning for fitness when your pet is young.
5. Pay attention to your pet’s teeth. Some dental problems cause pain. Other conditions cause pain, chronic inflammation and infection, which can cause disease in your pet’s heart or kidneys. Small dogs and dogs with short noses have a higher incidence of dental disease due to crowded teeth. These painful conditions can be prevented and treated. Talk to your veterinarian.
6. Have your cat spayed or neutered. Unaltered cats are at risk for life-threatening viral infections, abscesses, and being hit by cars. Cat overpopulation leads to this species being treated as disposable. Many unwanted cats are left to fend for themselves, surrendered to a humane society, or euthanized. Make sure your cat is not contributing to overpopulation.
7. Have your dog spayed or neutered. Unspayed females are at risk for uterine infections, breast cancer and getting pregnant. Unneutered dogs are at risk for being hit by cars and getting into fights.
8. See your veterinarian annually to ensure you are getting the best preventive and medical care for your pet. Our pets age faster than we do, so a lot can happen in a year.
9. Don’t wait too long to get medical attention when your pet is sick. If you are not sure if your pet needs to be seen right away by a veterinarian, call your veterinary clinic and ask. Our pets don’t talk, and often their family members don’t realize how sick or painful they are.
10. Enjoy your pet! Having a close relationship is healthy for both of you.