The Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and The Humane Society of the United States are reminding pet owners that preventative care can help pets live longer and healthier lives as they celebrate October as National Pet Wellness Month.
National Pet Wellness Month is a nationwide educational campaign sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association and Fort Dodge Animal Health.
“Yearly visits to your veterinarian are an essential part of keeping your pet healthy,” says Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, senior veterinary advisor for the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association. “Preventative care allows for early detection of problems and often saves money on overall veterinary costs by treating problems before they become serious.”
Dr. Kellogg offers pet owners the following tips to properly care for their pets throughout the year:
- A 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 your animal needs in the appropriate quantities, whereas it can be very difficult to create a balanced and complete diet from “people” foods.
- Weight Management: According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats were classified as overweight or obese by their veterinarians. Prevention is much easier to accomplish than treatment, so consult your veterinarian about the right diet and exercise regimen for your pet.
- Annual Exams: Pets should visit their veterinarian at least once a year to check their overall health and well-being, which also allows pet owners to make any necessary changes in their pet’s daily routine and care. A review of the vaccination status and program most appropriate for your pet should also be completed at this time.
- Spay/Neuter: Not only do the spay/neuter procedures prevent individual medical problems, but 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.
- Dental Care: Teeth and oral health should be evaluated annually.
- 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. You can help by feeding your pets better quality proteins and avoiding red meats like beef and beef by-products.