You might be an animal lover and want to be surrounded by domestic pets, but pet ownership is a really big responsibility.
As a pet owner, you need to ensure it is well-trained, fed periodically, hydrated, and cleaned up after a meal.
Besides, your friend must always be well with vaccinations, grooming, and flea treatment given to him periodically.
By taking time out to care for your pet, you keep him well and happy and ensure his long and comfortable life.
Why Take Your Pet to The Vet Regularly:
You should take your pet to the vet often for these reasons:
To Spot Illness Early On:
Since pets don’t have the power of speech, they cannot tell us that they are in pain. Besides, illnesses like arthritis and diabetes do not come with external symptoms, so though he may behave normally, he will go through a medical problem.
For this reason, if he goes through check-ups regularly, the vets will be able to check for any growing problems.
To Manage Behavioural Problems:
Part of your pet's upkeep comprises his mental well-being too. If you take your pet regularly to the vet for check-ups, you can discuss any odd behavior or habits or moods that signify an emotional problem.
Your vet can then suggest tips to cope with the problems you face before they grow.
Your Vet Can Educate You on Preparing for Future Problems:
When you explain your pet's condition to the vet, you may begin to understand what went wrong and how to take care of such a situation in the future.
You can also make a quick observation about the pet and if he acts oddly, which is a big help in an emergency.
Regular Wellness Does Matter for Pets Too
Don’t restrict wellness care for your pets to just a series of shots. It’s more than just that. It refers to vets being able to see the growth of diseases or other conditions that can make him uneasy, sick and in pain. If left untreated, it could manifest into something big and expensive to treat.
Periodic wellness isn't only for dogs or cats. You may own mammals, birds, or reptiles which need a medical inspection from time to time.
The Wellness Examination: What it’s All About
Your pet’s examination begins with the vet checking him from his face down to its tail. This includes:
A Dental Check:
A maximum of 85% of cats and dogs experience some form of dental disease by the age of three.
If you don’t treat them for this, their teeth can be completely destroyed. So, go by your vet’s instructions when it comes to dental care.
You may have pets like ferrets, rabbits, chinchillas who would do better with dental care.
Based on your pet's species, age, and size, your vet will come up with a diet that suits it best, and as an owner, you should stick to this alone.
On your vet's advice, give your pet all the exercise and mental stimulation, he needs to be healthy and happy.
You may treat your pet excellently, but there could be times when he could give you a scare, and you need emergency services for him.
Since you have a good rapport with a vet hospital and a complete pet record, it can be of immense help when dealing with such an emergency.
How to Plan Your Pet’s Preventive Care
One great way of giving your pet the best medical care is to put him on an annual preventive care regimen. This will keep him healthy and happy all year round. By taking your vet’s help, you can have a unique plan that will help keep your pet healthy.
Features of a Preventive Care Plan
Work with your vet to create a widespread plan for your pet’s care. It should include the following:
If you make an annual diary of these services and pitch dates against them, you’ll never miss a date for any of these services and so prevent him from suffering from life-threatening diseases.
Besides this, your pet could also suffer from some chronic conditions, such as arthritis, allergies, heart disease, and much more. If managed early, you can cut your costs, else they could prove very expensive for you and painful for him.
Six-monthly exams and wellness plans can keep your pet in good health.
What Preventive Care for Your Pet Should Comprise
Preventive care for your pet will depend largely on his breed, health status, and age. Whatever these factors indicate, you should take him to the vet every six months, or more often if required.
Each visit could include:
By working with the recommendations from your veterinarian based on the results from the exams listed above, you can help create the best plan for your pet.
Common Lab Tests for Pets
To keep your pets healthy, they need to have regular check-ups. You may not know which tests your pets should go through and at what frequency. So, read on to find out all that you need to do to keep your pet healthy.
A blood test will tell you how sick your pet is and can prevent further dangerous disease from setting in. Some pets are allergic to certain medications which info can show up in the blood test. So, it's a good help to your vet.
A blood test can show whether your pet suffers from anemia, infection, inflammation, and other diseases. Organ function, blood sugar, endocrine disorder are other findings from blood tests. By doing a Heartworm Test, heartworm disease can also be detected.
A urinalysis helps complement the results of blood tests. It shows whether ketones or glucose is present, pointing to diabetes. The loss of early protein through the kidneys, bleeding, bladder stones, and cancer are other findings of this test. This test should be done twice a year.
A urine culture tells the vet if the pet has a renal or bladder infection, and if an infection is present.
Every six months, dogs and cats should be put through a fecal test, since they could harbor parasites of the intestine. If the test proves positive, the pet needs de-worming, and follow-up tests to be sure that the parasites are destroyed.
Small amounts of X-ray radiation are used in radiography to permit the doctor to look within the pet's body. This is useful for any kind of pet illness but more so for orthopedic problems such as dislocations and fractures.
It also helps to know about bladder stones, heart or lung-related problems, and GI obstructions.
Radiography is also useful to make an early diagnosis of pets without any specific problems. It is done by sedating the pet if it has to be spayed or neutered or for a dental cleaning. By doing this test on animals, small problems can be treated before they turn chronic.
Ultrasonography isn’t limited to being very good screening tests for cancer, but are also used in other situations. For example, if the vet hears a heart murmur during a routine exam, a heart ultrasound will tell him how serious the heart disease is.
It is also used for internal tumors, inflammation, or cancer. Ultrasound is safe and does not require sedation of the animal.
FIV and FeLV Test
Whereas FIV attacks the immune system and makes it vulnerable to infection, FeLV weakens the immune system and increases the cat’s risk for lymphosarcoma. By testing for these viruses, your vet can take appropriate steps to limit your cat’s exposure to other felines and so cut down transmission.
Secondly, if your vet knows that they have these viruses, he can cope with any other illness of the cat ably.
Heartworm affects dogs and cats alike. It is caused by a worm that resides in the pet's heart, arteries, and lungs. Mosquitoes are carriers of this disease. Before beginning on any preventative treatment, pets should be tested for heartworm disease.
By putting your pet through all these tests, you ensure their better quality of life and long years of good health with you.
Vaccinating Your Pet
If you genuinely care for your pet, you will do everything you can to save him from being a carrier of contagious diseases. One way of doing that is to have him vaccinated timely. This is necessary whether your pet is an indoorsy type or not because the disease is usually airborne.
Also, as an owner, you should know that all vaccinations take a few days to show results.
Vaccines for Your Dog
Your dog must be given the following vaccines to remain healthy. They are Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus (DHPP). Collectively, they are called the "distemper shot." This vaccine protects your dog from all four diseases.
Your pet should also take a rabies vaccine as this virus is fatal to men and mammals.
Part of the distemper vaccine is Leptospirosis, as this bacterial infection is common in humid climates or wherever you find a stagnant pool.
Vaccinate your pet against that affects its intestinal tract.
Bordetella or “kennel cough” is yet another dangerous virus that causes infection of the upper respiratory tract. Before your dog is taken to a dog show, boarding kennel, or put in the care of a groomer, ensure he’s given this vaccine.
Another vaccination against the upper respiratory disease is Canine Influenza that should also be given to your pet.
Vaccines for Your Cat
A combined distemper shot is made up of Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis, Calicivirus, and Panleukopenia (FVRCP). Jointly, this vaccine protects your cat against feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia.
Cats should also be vaccinated against rabies, which is fatal amongst them and humans.
Chlamydia, that causes chronic conjunctivitis is often included in the distemper group. Felv and FIV should also be given, apart from Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP). This viral infection is fatal, so vaccination is essential.
Cats also suffer from upper respiratory infections. To avoid this, the vaccine against Bordetella should be given.
Parasite Prevention and Medical Care
Your pet cat or dog can be susceptible to a series of parasitic infections. However, you should be especially careful as many of these parasites are zoonotic, which means that they affect both animals and humans. So, while you give your pet the best health care, you should remain healthy too.
These are the parasites that you should beware of:
Fleas and Ticks
Fleas and ticks are skin-deep parasites and cause a lot of pain and skin rash, irritation, and they are transmitters of skin diseases. However, your vet can give you several effective solutions.
Hookworms, whipworms, roundworms, tapeworms, and coccidia are the common parasites in the intestines of dogs and cats. These parasites make your pet sick. He may vomit, lose weight, have diarrhea, and be very poorly.
Apart from these, there are also zoonotic parasites, so take great care. Vets generally recommend that pets be given monthly preventives against intestinal parasites.
Heartworms make their homes in the lungs and heart of infected pets. Mosquitoes are the carriers of this disease. They send heartworm larva into the pet’s bloodstream along with a bite. However, your pet can be cured of this by a vet.
Your pet’s dental care is extremely important. So, you need to be watchful as he grows from puppyhood to adult. Your pet's oral hygiene isn't a luxury, it's a necessity for his or her good oral health. You can do the following to keep him or her healthy throughout the year:
- 1Have your pet’s teeth cleaned by the vet? Your vet will check for tartar and plaque formation and will give his teeth a good brushing.
- 2Brush his teeth every day. To keep dental disease at bay, give him adequate home care every day. Use a soft-toothed brush and brush gently. It won’t be easy, but with time, you’ll get it right.
- 3Give him a special diet. If he suffers from periodontal disease, give him a special diet to get rid of the problem.
- 4A chew treat for good behavior. If he is cooperative during the cleaning, he needs a treat, doesn’t he? So, give him a chew treat and keep him happy.
Before you go to the vet, check for the following:
By taking care of your pet to this extent, you will have a very happy and healthy pet who will remain devoted to you for several years.
The Best Nutrition for Your Pet
Being a pet owner is neither easy, nor is it inexpensive. If you're responsible for your pet's well-being, you need to be on the ball all the time lest he falls sick. Pets, like us, need food for energy, vitamins, and minerals.
And that’s not enough. They also need to be fed at the right time and highly nutritious food at that.
Why Feed Your Pet Nutrients?
Your pet needs to eat some specific food groups and nutrients for his overall good health. Like us, they too need to include in their diet proteins, carbs, fats, vitamins, water, and minerals. Each of these nutrients plays a significant role in the pet’s health.
By giving all of the above in your pet's daily meals, you can give him a balanced diet. Of course, please ensure that he eats vegetables, bones, and drinks a lot of milk.
Benefits of Good Pet Nutrition
Good quality nutrition for pets helps them in many ways. Not only does it help specific parts of their bodies, but it also helps keep them fit, pain-free, and active for all the years of their lives. If you feed your dog or cat nutritious food, you don’t need to give them additional supplements.
Here are the chief benefits of giving your pet a nutritious diet:
Protein for Better Muscle Tone and Overall Body Condition
All the cells of the body are made up of protein. It is helpful in building tissues of the hair, skin, muscles, organs, etc. It also repairs damaged cells and creates new ones.
If yours is a young pet, or is growing or even pregnant, protein works well for them. He will be able to build strong muscles, so it is necessary that you feed him chicken or beef.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids for Excellent Skin and Coat
Everyone loves to pat a dog or cat with a shiny, furry coat. From this, you automatically know he’s in good health. This is evident from the fact that his levels of Omega-3 and 6 are in a fine balance to bring about excellent coat and skin.
If your pet has dry skin and a coat that breaks or splits easily, it means that his levels of the omega fatty acids aren’t sufficient. If adequate levels of these compounds, he won’t suffer from itchy skin or any other irritation or allergies.
Carbohydrates for Smooth Digestion
The fiber content in carbohydrates aids smooth digestion. The nutrients of dog foods are so created that he can easily digest his food and get rid of waste products. You should ensure that your dog’s food has all the required nutrition and a little stool too.
Vitamins and Minerals for Better Immunity and Disease Prevention
Vitamins and minerals in pet food help to strengthen his immune system and keep his metabolism functioning optimally.
Any damage done to the cells in the body is rectified by vitamins while minerals stimulate the normal cellular functioning to keep your pet healthy. Without an adequate level of both these elements, your pet could be very ill.
What to Feed Your Pet
If you have a dog, you can feed him chicken or beef and rice as he grows. Milk could complement his meals but certainly, avoid giving him corn. He can also eat vegetables and fruit. However, to be more specific, all that a dog eats depends largely on his breed and size.
If you have a pet cat, please understand that you've got a hardcore carnivore in the house. He needs to eat meat or fish, raw or cooked. Other foods he will enjoy are red meat, offal, fowl and rabbit, eggs, and cheese.
Don't feed him chocolate, grapes, nuts, corncobs, mushrooms, and tomatoes.
As always, diet isn’t all you need to give him. It’s also exercises, games, a walk in the park and overall a whiff of the outdoors.
Groom Your Pet for Good Health
Grooming is important for the health of your pet. It also helps create a deep emotional bond with you. When you groom your pet, you spend quality time together while you also check his body for any tenderness, bumps, or cuts.
Why Pets Should Be Groomed
Like us, pets too need to be kept clean and tidy with regular grooming. Here are some more benefits of regular pet grooming:
Pointers for Pet Grooming:
How to Groom Your Pet
While Bathing Him
There are several bathing products for dogs and cats, so choose one that’s appropriate for him. Before beginning the bathing routine, place a non-slip rubber mat at the base of the bathtub so that your pet feels confident while you bathe him.
Else, he might slip, and this will scare him a lot.
Cleaning His Ears
Check your pet’s ears for dirt, redness or itching, particularly if he scratches them or shakes his head. In case he develops ear infections or ear mites, have him treated immediately.
Oral Hygiene for Him
For your pet to be completely well, he needs to have good oral health too. With regular dental care, any tartar and plaque can be removed. If your vet checks his teeth and gives him a thorough tooth cleaning, that's great.
Use pet dental products for your pet, never use products for humans on him. If he has bad breath or bleeding gums, speak to your vet about it.
Does your pet have sharp nail tips? These can be blunted by trimming them regularly so that he doesn't have any scratches while playing. Your vet can show you how to trim your pet’s nails in a way that doesn’t cause any bleeding. Trimming them once a month is quite enough.
There’s a lot to grooming your pet than you can imagine. You can learn to do this with help from your vet, or you can get in a professional who can deal with this better.
Preventive Care for Senior Pets
All your pet's life, he serves you with loyalty and sincerity. But when he grows old, you need to take over and look after him till his end. If he is six years old or more, he is a "senior," and you will notice that he has begun to slow down and needs a little bit of extra care from you.
How to Care for Your Senior Pet
So, what are the many things that you can do to make your pet’s last few years peaceful and smooth? Here are the leading factors that you can incorporate in your daily life:
Check That He Eats Well
Perhaps, your pet has grown obese. This could be a leading factor for his reduced lifespan. It could also make him vulnerable to cancer, diabetes, and orthopedic problems. As he ages, ensures that he eats a balanced diet containing good quality ingredients sufficiently to maintain good body weight.
Exercise Him Regularly
To maintain your pet’s weight, exercise him regularly. Don’t go overboard with either the duration of his exercise or its intensity. To know how to exercise him, speak to your vet so that he can design a program that will take all his limitations into account.
If your pet suffers from some discomfort, your vet will advise him to be given non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). He will also be given nutraceuticals to enhance his mobility and flexibility.
Don’t use any off-the-shelf products for your pet without consulting your vet. Often, they are far too strong for pets.
Take Your Pet Regularly to The Vet
At this stage of his life, your pet demands regular vet care, so take him to the doctor regularly. Once he becomes a senior, you should have him checked every six months for early detection of any disease. Also, you can find out if there are any problems he harbors without your knowing it.
Your vet will also be able to see whether he is in good health or not and recommend ways for him to improve.
Keep His Mouth and Teeth Clean
As your pet ages, you will need to be more attentive to his dental needs. Your vet will advise you about regular dental cleanings and inform you of any other problems he suffers.
Protect Him from Parasites and Infections
Given that you've been a responsible pet owner until now, you've been doing all you can to keep ticks, fleas, heartworms, etc. away from your pet. However, as he aged, he may develop a need for vaccinations against these parasites.
You and your vet should plan all the vaccines he still needs and the frequency of these.
Groom Your Pet Regularly
If your pet is senior and long-haired, his grooming needs may be different from any other. Determine a schedule for your pet’s grooming so that he remains clean and infection-free.
Continue to Hold Him Close to You
When pets age, they need more care than before. To care for them, you need first to understand them. Be patient as he probably can't see or hear well. But he will remember your touch, voice, and presence and that might be just enough for him.
Be kind to him, be his friend and love him as before. Without these, he will waste away.
Health Issues to Look Out for in Senior Pets
You’ve noticed that your pet is no longer as active as before. So, you know that you need to be there more now than in earlier times. He might also be susceptible to health conditions that you can control or have treated. But what are these medical conditions? Let’s find out.
Loss of Sight and Hearing
When the tissues of the eyes and ears of pets begin to degenerate in old age, it causes blindness and deafness. They might also have cataracts, which can be removed. But what's worse is a hearing loss as this is often permanent.
However, by regularly cleaning your pet’s ears, you can retard his hearing loss in old age.
When pets suffer from joint stiffness and pain, it’s diagnosed as osteoarthritis. A progressively degenerative disease due to the loss of joint lubrication and the erosion of cartilage in the joints, this is a condition pets have to bear as there’s no cure for it.
However, with proper nutrition, pain can be reduced.
Dogs, like humans, also lose mental activity with age, and experience something like Alzheimer's. If you have a dog, he will bark for no reason, or experience mental confusion or be disoriented. If your pet too suffers from any such symptom, speak to your vet about it.
Medication and certain dog food can help, to some extent.
With age, pets are more prone to developing cancer, so if you do find some strange lumps, have them checked out by your vet.
Pets are also known to develop heart disease, commonly congestive heart failure. This happens when the heart can no longer pump as much blood, and fluid fills the chest, heart, and lungs. Your pet may, therefore, have difficulty breathing, cough, faint or vomit. So, have him checked out by the vet ASAP.
Your pet's weight can influence his health a great deal, particularly as he grows older and becomes less active. If he is obese, he may be a perfect candidate for diabetes, heart problems, joint issues, and cancer.
To avoid such medical conditions, it would help if you exercise your pet in his youth. You should also feed him in relation to his age so that his nutrition is perfect.
Your pet can suffer from Gastrointestinal Issues (GI) for a variety of reasons. Though not serious in itself, it can lead to renal problems, diarrhea, and vomiting. As pets age, they may also have problems of incontinence as their bladders weaken. Often, this leads to urinary tract infection.
If GI continues, speak to your vet about it.
As your pet ages, his kidneys don't function as before. Often, this leads to severe kidney failure, which is incurable, but it can be managed with treatment. This could prolong his life to an extent. If your pet is on medication, this could be the cause of renal failure, so have him checked by your vet.
His chances of survival can improve if his blood tests are done regularly. Also, a nutritious diet can do wonders for his kidneys.
With the possibility of so many problems in a pet's life, it pays to have him checked by the vet every few weeks. By looking out for any unusual behavior, your vet can nab any illnesses early on and give your pet a chance to live longer and better.
Taking Care of Your Pet at the End of His Life
If your pet is struck by a terminal condition, he needs to be cared for until he dies, or till you have him euthanized. By resorting to end-of-life care, you can take a little time to decide what you want to do and adjust to his loss.
What End-of-Life Care Includes
End-of-life care includes the services of a vet in an emergency situation, counseling, and advice for decision-making and care at home. Any medication and therapies administered to provide comfort, and ease the pain, and euthanasia meant for your pet are included in this.
Overall, pet care covers a wide range of activities, beginning from a pet’s infancy and going on to his last days. Apart from all the medical and home care, a pet owner is bound to give it, pet insurance is another aspect that gives the owner more keenness to look after his pet with full devotion and love.
Last updated on September 19th, 2023