You want nothing more than to ensure your pet lives a long, healthy, and happy life. While you can’t control every factor that affects your pet’s life span, you can take steps to promote your four-legged friend’s wellbeing. Our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Jordan Ranch team shares five tips you should follow to help add years to your beloved pet’s life.
#1: Schedule regular wellness exams for your pet
One of the easiest and most effective ways to support your pet’s health and longevity is to ensure they have annual veterinary wellness exams. Your pet can develop health problems that may not be immediately apparent, and regular wellness exams allow your veterinarian to identify illness and injury signs early, when your pet’s treatment options and overall prognosis are good. In addition to checking for disease signs, your veterinarian can monitor your pet’s weight, assess their dental health, and ensure your furry pal is up-to-date on vaccinations and parasite preventive treatments. Early detection and treatment of health conditions can significantly improve your pet’s quality of life and add years to their life.
#2: Keep your pet at a healthy weight
Maintaining your pet’s ideal weight is essential for their comfort, mobility, and overall health. If your pets is overweight, their life span may be shortened because of weight-related health problems, including:
- Joint issues — Excess weight puts extra stress on your pet’s joints, which can lead to arthritis and other painful and potentially debilitating conditions.
- Heart disease — Overweight pets are more likely to develop cardiac disease, including high blood pressure and heart failure.
- Diabetes — Obesity can increase your pet’s diabetes risk, which can cause serious health problems.
- Respiratory conditions — Overweight pets may have difficulty breathing and are more prone to respiratory problems.
You can take steps at home to help your pet avoid developing weight-related diseases and conditions. If you are concerned about your pet’s weight, contact our team to determine the best diet and exercise plan for your four-legged friend’s individual needs. In the meantime, follow these tips to help your pet maintain a healthy weight:
- Monitor your pet’s weight — Use a body conditioning score (BCS) to monitor your pet’s weight at home, and determine if they need to shed excess pounds. To help you determine whether your pet is overweight or underweight, the BCS system provides a nine-point fat evaluation scale that helps you assess your four-legged friend’s rib cage, hips, and abdomen. The higher your pet’s score, the more likely they need to shed excess weight.
- Measuring your pet’s food portions — A dog or cat calorie calculator can help you determine the number of daily calories your pet needs. Use a measuring cup to ensure you are feeding your pet the correct amount to maintain their healthy weight.
- Reduce treats — Treats should make up no more than 10% of your pet’s daily calorie intake. Remember, if you give your pet treats, adjust their meal portions accordingly to account for the tasty morsels’ calories.
- Exercise daily — Exercise is an important factor in maintaining a healthy weight, so get your pet moving every day. The exercise will benefit you too.
#3: Prioritize your pet’s dental hygiene
Although you strive to ensure your pet remains healthy, you may be overlooking their oral care. Poor dental hygiene can cause your pet to experience pain, periodontal disease, permanent organ damage, and a shortened life span. Periodontal disease develops when tartar builds up, irritating and inflaming the gums and surrounding tissues, which become more severe and painful over time. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) estimates that the majority of pets show dental or periodontal disease signs by 3 years of age. To prevent these painful issues, establish your pet’s oral care routine, which should include:
- Daily toothbrushing
- Providing Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC)-approved dental chews
- Regular veterinary dental exams
- Professional veterinary teeth cleanings
#4: Protect your pet from parasites
Parasites, such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitos, can infect your pet any time of year. These pests can transmit harmful diseases, including:
- Heartworm disease
- Lyme disease
- Rocky Mountain spotted fever
Fortunately, you can protect your pet from parasites and prevent disease transmission by administering year-round parasite prevention and ensuring they have routine testing for parasite-related diseases. Various parasite prevention products are available, and your veterinarian will help you choose the best prevention product for your pet.
#5: Spay or neuter your pet
Ensure you are a responsible pet owner by having your four-legged friend spayed or neutered, helping prevent unwanted litters and tamping pet overpopulation. These reproductive procedures support a pet’s health by reducing the risk of uterine infections and certain life-threatening reproductive cancers. Spaying or neutering your pet also has behavioral benefits and can reduce unwanted behaviors such as aggression, marking, and roaming. Spaying and neutering can add years to a pet’s life, so contact our team to schedule your pet’s procedure, or discuss any questions you may have.
Your pet relies on you for their health and wellbeing, and by taking these preventive measures, you can ensure your furry pal enjoys a good quality of life for years to come. To schedule your pet’s wellness exam, contact our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Jordan Ranch team.
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