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Around Our Town...Your Pet's Health

Habits For A Healthy Pet

09/01/2005 - by Jennifer Hendryx

As we look at our day to day routines one can't help but notice the impact that pets have on our lives. From morning walks, to vacations, to the unwind at the end of the day; pets are truly an important part of the family. Many people would have to agree that pets are like children. They put a soft spot in our hearts and a smile on our faces. And as with any family member quality health care is just as important for humans as it is for our pets. So what are some guidelines for keeping your pet in tip top shape? Here are a few of the most important aspects of animal healthcare.

1. Annual Exam- It's important for all animals to have a yearly physical exam to make sure they are healthy. Veterinarians examine all body systems to make sure your animal is as healthy as it can be. The need for an annual exam greatly increases with the age of the animal. Animals never do stay long enough. But, making sure they are examined yearly can help ensure your animal lives a longer and healthier life.

2. Vaccinations- Another critical factor in keeping your pet healthy is making sure they are current on all vaccinations. Unvaccinated pets are at a much higher risk for contracting, sometimes fatal, viral infections and diseases. Vaccinations are updated yearly and can be given at the same time as the annual exam. It should ease the mind knowing that your animal is protected from the life threatening illnesses Mother Nature possesses.

3. Spay or Neuter- Unless you have intentions of keeping your pet intact for breeding purposes, getting them spayed or neutered is a good idea. There are risks involved with keeping your animal intact and their lifespan increases when they are spayed or neutered. Having your animals fixed also greatly reduces the over-population of unwanted pets.

4. Dental hygiene- Part of our everyday morning routine involves dental hygiene. Rover or Fluffy may not have the same strict policy of brushing and flossing every morning, but their teeth are just as important. You may have noticed that your pet's breath isn't exactly minty fresh, but a tic-tac won't solve the problem. Pets often times need their teeth cleaned. A mouth full of bacteria, plaque, and infected gums can affect many of the organs in the body. Having a dental done on your pet will make them happier and healthier. Not to mention you may not cringe as much the next time they decide to lick your nose.

5. Heartworm Prevention- Heartworm disease is carried by an all too familiar vector, the mosquito. We are in a medium risk area and there have been confirmed cases of heartworm this year. Getting your animal tested and keeping them on a once a month treatment will protect them from the often fatal disease.

6. Diet and Exercise- We all know that keeping active and eating a healthy diet is a key ingredient to leading a wholesome lifestyle; the same goes for animals. Involving your animals in your routine walks, hikes, or bike rides is not only healthy for the both of you, but also creates a greater bond between pet and owner. Maintaining your pet on a nutritious diet and at a healthy weight will keep them strong and active. Inactive and overweight animals may reach a stumbling block as their age progresses. Extra weight may lead to premature arthritis and various other health risks. So at the end of the day grab the leash and take Rover for a walk. It will relieve stress and is rewarding in the end.

With all of these things in mind, take a moment to realize really how much your pets mean to you. They are great companions and can always make you smile at the end of a long hard week. You wouldn't neglect your own health, so be sure to remember your pets. You'll be thankful in the long run, knowing they were active and healthy and lived a happy and fulfilling life.

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