It is always the most exciting thing to have a new member join your family, and for many that may be in the form of a lovable furry friend. Your new pets need commitment and care for the rest of their lives. Part of that comes in the form of preventive health care. Just as your kids need regular dental and health checks, pets too need regular maintenance to keep them happy and healthy. Here is how you can achieve this at home …
They say you are what you eat, the same goes for animals. Ensuring your pet has a balanced diet is vital for their long-term health. The rule of thumb is making sure your pet is getting a specifically formulated diet for their age. The help of pet nutritionists may sometimes be needed in the case of home cooked or raw diets to be certain you are meeting all their nutritional requirements.
Your pets need to have appropriate ‘petiquete’ to socialise safely within your family and in public. This includes toilet training, leash training, socialisation training and crucial commands. Learning the basics well such as “stay” and “sit” can one day save your dog’s life or that of another dog. Some pets may need the help of a professional trainer.
Home health care
Regular dental care in the form of dental treats and teeth brushing is important to prevent dental disease long term. Regular coat brushing and once monthly baths can also improve skin and coat health, especially for certain breeds with high maintenance coats such as long-haired and wire-haired breeds. Regularly checking your pet’s nails and trimming them can also save them a whole lot of discomfort. If you are unsure how to trim safely, contact your local vet or pet groomer and ask for help.
Other preventive health measures can be achieved with your vet’s assistance. These include:
This is crucial for preventing unwanted litters and for general health too. In cats, the main risks are with unwanted breeding. In dogs, un-speyed females can be at higher risk of mammary cancers and severe infections of the uterus. Male unneutered dogs can be at higher risk of testicular cancers. The age recommended for desexing differs with size and breed in dogs. Contact your local vet for more advice.
Microchipping and vaccinations
Microchipping is highly recommended for dogs and cats for traceability in case they get lost. Vaccinations are vital in preventing your pet from contracting various severe infectious diseases such as parvovirus and leptospirosis.
Flea treatment and deworming
Regular flea treatment can save you and your pet from a whole lot of itching and discomfort, as fleas love to hide in their fur. Worm burdens in your pet can also cause gut upsets, diarrhoea and other diseases. It is recommended to schedule regular health checks with your vet every six to 12 months to ensure they can catch any illnesses early, especially in old age.