The need for preventative care extends to our furry friends. The more proactive you are as a pet owner, the longer life your pet can lead. Just like you need to exercise, eat healthy, and get regular checkups, so do the animals in your care.
Pets age quicker than humans. Although people equate one dog year to seven human years, that’s a bit oversimplified. In reality, it may equal four to fifteen years, depending on the breed, size, and other factors. This means you have to maintain a schedule of care right from the start to ensure your pet’s longevity.
It’s critical your pet receives preventative care daily, as well as scheduled appointments with the vet. Here’s everything you need to know about routine preventative care for pets:
What is Preventative Care for Your Pet?
Preventative or routine care for pets is about taking your pet for regular checkups, getting scheduled vaccinations, and ensuring your animal is doing well. It involves any procedures you can do or precautions you can take to protect the length and quality of your pet’s life.
In the medical community, preventative care is anything that prevents disease in our animals. This includes all necessary vaccinations, heartworm tablets, and flea & tick control. It also involves products that can be used or administered to prevent disease later in life.
Some of the common services and tasks that involve preventative care include:
- Washing and grooming
- Regular exercise
- Spay or neuter
- Preventative medications for endoparasites & ectoparasites
- Regular vet visits
- Stool & urine screening
- Maintaining proper weight
Your pet's medical services plan should include dental checkups as well. Much like humans, animals can develop serious gum and teeth issues when their mouths are neglected. Therefore, it is important to brush your pet’s teeth regularly with a soft toothbrush.
If you don’t feel this is something you can handle, the vet can also clean your pet’s teeth periodically.
Common problems with growing age include kidney disease, joint pain, weight gain, diabetes, etc. If preventative care is overlooked, your pet becomes more susceptible to these problems.
Pet preventive care ensures your animal is free from disease and other health-related issues that can affect their quality of life for as long as possible. It's highly recommended to choose a complete preventative care plan and schedule it accordingly.
Best Pet Care Practices
When it comes to the best pet care practices, many people get overwhelmed by the work that needs to be done. But, if you plan things well, pet care is easy, safe, and fast. You don't need to miss work to ensure your pet is always cared for.
Pet care practices vary depending on type and breed. However, there are core values that remain the same. The following are some of the services and tasks that are essential to successful preventative care:
Spay or Neuter Your Pets
Spaying or neutering your pet has a multitude of benefits that will affect their medical and behavioral constitution and keep them healthy for years to come.
As you are free to spay or neuter your pet at any time, the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) suggests that you get the procedure done at a few months old. Cats and dogs will also differ. The amount of time for dogs can depend on the breed.
For dogs, the AAHA suggests that small to medium-breed puppies which weigh under 45 pounds are ideal to spay before they enter their 5th or 6th month.
Large-breed dogs that weigh over 45 pounds should be neutered after they complete growing at around 9 to 15 months and spayed at 5 to 15 months. As stated, the timeframes will differ by breed, so if you’re not sure, it’s best to consult with your vet.
Feed a Good Quality Diet
Dogs and cats have specific calorie needs that vary by pet type and breed. Nutrition plays a huge role in longevity and the quality of life for your pet. The better you feed your animal, the happier they will be.
This does not mean giving them snacks from your plate. Although you might be tempted, changing up their food like that is one of the worst things you can do for your pet’s diet. Obesity is a common nutritional disorder in pets today. It increases the risk of other health issues and shortens an animal’s lifespan. Regular exercise and appropriate nutrition are key to keeping your furry friend on track.
Here are a few stats that will help you plan a good, quality diet:
- A 50-pound dog requires 700 to 900 calories per day
- A 10-pound cat needs 200 calories a day
- The biggest dogs may consume around 1,350 calories.
- A well-balanced diet needs proper protein, fats, and carbohydrates
Before you buy some fancy packaged food, consult with your vet.
Vaccinate Your Pet
Just like us, pets need vaccines and boosters to keep them free from disease. When an animal is as young as 6 weeks old, it can be eligible for certain protective measures.
The first step in the vaccination journey is to consult with your vet. Medications will vary by breed, size, age, need, etc. So, it starts with talking to a professional. Your vet will recommend vaccinations that fall into two categories: core vaccines and non-core vaccines.
Core pet vaccinations are prescribed for every pet, while non-core vaccines may be recommended based on your pet's health, breed, lifestyle, and other factors. For example, your pet's veterinarian may recommend specific non-core vaccinations if your dog or cat spends a lot of time outside.
Core vaccinations include:
- Parvovirus (DHPP vaccinations)
- Feline Rhinotracheitis
- Calicivirus (FVRCP)
Why Routine Wellness Exams for Your Pet Are Important
The best way to schedule routine health exams for your pet is on a bi-yearly basis or every six months. Unlike humans, pets can’t effectively communicate when there’s a problem.
Thus, it’s important to take them to routine checkups frequently. This is how you catch an issue before it turns into a real problem.
Get to each exam a little early so you can fill out all necessary paperwork, like an updated wellness questionnaire. This helps the vet determine any new issues or problems that may have popped up since the last visit.
Mention all unusual behavior, which can include:
- Excessive drinking or scratching
- Weight loss or gain
- Diet changes
- Parasite control
During the exam, the vet will check all of your pet’s vital statistics as well as their ears, eyes, mouth, heart, lungs, skin, and abdomen. If your pet requires any additional vaccines or boosters, this is also the time in which a professional will recommend it.
Routine Wellness and Preventative Care Pet Insurance
Pet insurance with preventative care is a great way to secure a pet’s health and bring yourself peace of mind. As per multiple agencies, the average price that most pet owners can support for treatment at any given time is $1,500. This isn’t a lot given the current cost of procedures.
As healthcare costs rise every month, it's important to focus on routine wellness. Many pet owners opt into an insurance plan within six months of adopting their pet. Get this set up as soon as possible. Remember, once your pet gets sick, it will be a lot harder to opt into any plan. That’s because most agencies won’t cover your pet with any pre-existing condition.
One out of three pets will need emergency treatment once in their lifetime, and that's why many vets suggest enrolling in pet insurance that covers preventive care. Like the standard insurance that humans have, you'll need to pay a monthly fee for pet coverage. Your per insurance policy will explain which disease and conditions are insured.
The best pet insurance with preventative care will list important aspects like the deductible, reimbursement rate, maximum payout, annual limit, and more. The average cost for pet insurance ranges between $200 to $1,000 yearly.
Schedule Your Pet’s Routine Checkup Today
Today is the day to start your pet’s journey with ongoing health. Just like humans, our furry family members experience diseases, trauma, and old age. The more attention you pay to their health from the very start, the longer they will live and the happier they will be.
The best way to keep your pet youthful is to start with a professional. Your vet will help guide you through the right medications, food, and custom care needed to safeguard your animal’s wellness.
Don’t forget to also look into routine wellness & preventative care pet insurance. The sooner, the better! Your pet deserves it.
Grab a sneak-peek into everyday life here in our Flagstaff, Arizona clinic. We understand it can be a scary time to visit the clinic, but we are committed to providing the best care we can, with all safety precautions in place. Call us anytime with questions about preventative care for your beloved pet!