Pet health care

Question:

I take my dog and cat to the vet for their regular checkups, but are there any other steps I can take to help keep my pets healthy?

Answer:

Weigh your pet monthly

Pet obesity continues to be a serious problem. Almost half of US adult dogs and cats are classified as overweight or obese. One of the most important steps you can take to keep your pet healthy is to maintain a normal body weight. By weighing your pet monthly, you can respond to weight changes before they become severe. Remember that one-half pound on a cat is similar to three to five pounds on you. If your pet is overweight, talk with your veterinarian about how to safely shed those excess pounds. Visit www.PetObesityPrevention.com for additional information.

Have basic blood and urine tests performed

Dogs and cats are adept at hiding illness. In fact, you often don’t something is wrong with your pet until something is really wrong. To help uncover hidden medical conditions, take your pet in for basic blood and urine tests. The money you spend now may save not only money later but could add years of high-quality living to your pet. If the test results are normal, you will have vital baseline values for future reference, allowing your veterinarian to diagnose disease earlier.

Lift your pet’s lips

Periodontal disease affects the majority of dogs and cats over three years of age. If you’re not brushing your pet’s teeth regularly (and so few of us do), take a look at your pet’s teeth and gums once a month. Do you see yellow or brown staining or accumulations on the teeth? Do the gums appear swollen, red or inflamed? If you see anything suspicious, contact your veterinarian. Make it a goal to take care of your pet’s teeth. The money you invest now in good oral care will save you big bucks in the long run.