October is National Pet Wellness Month and it’s a great time to remind pet owners that preventive care is the easiest way to help pets live longer and healthier lives. National Pet Wellness Month is a nationwide educational campaign sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Fort Dodge Animal Health. Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, senior veterinary advisor for Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association (HSVMA) offers pet owners the following tips for you to keep in mind as you help clients care for their furry family members throughout the year:
Annual exams. Pets should visit the veterinarian at least once a year. Annual exams are a great opportunity to check on the overall health. You should also review the vaccination status and program most appropriate for clients’ pets at this time.
Spay/neuter. Not only do the procedures prevent individual medical problems such as mammary and testicular tumors and uterine infections, spaying or neutering also helps curb pet overpopulation and reduces the number of unwanted pets who are euthanized every day. Spay and neuter surgeries can be safely performed as early as 8-12 weeks of age.
Weight management. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, veterinarians classified 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats were classified as overweight or obese. Prevention is much easier to accomplish than treatment, so help pets get on the right diet and exercise regimen.
Balanced diet. Commercial dog and cat foods make it easy to provide a nutritionally balanced and complete diet. Dog and cat foods contain all of the different nutrients pets need in the appropriate quantities. Remind clients that it’s very difficult to create a balanced and complete diet from people foods.
Dental care. Evaluate teeth and oral health annually. And encourage clients to brush their pets’ teeth. Unchecked, dental disease can lead to kidney problems or nutritional issues if the pet cannot adequately chew and digest food.
Senior pets. As animals age, their dietary requirements and their ability to digest certain foods changes. When pets grow older, they lose some ability to concentrate urine so they need to produce more, and therefore need more water intake. Clients can help by feeding pets better quality proteins and avoiding red meats like beef and beef by-products. Doing this will decrease the workload on the kidneys and help prevent diseases and health issues from developing.