Pet safety is not hard to achieve, and yet many people fail to meet all of their pet’s health needs. Health is not just a matter of vaccinations – though they are very important – what follows are five tips to help your pet live a long and happy life.
1. Visit your veterinarian and listen to what she says. This is about more than vaccinations and ‘fixing’, this is about heart worm prevention, flea and tick protocols and information on local risks. Your veterinarian should be your partner in pet health, your vet is your first defense against disease and preventable illnesses. She is also your ally when your pet is ill or injured. Make sure that your veterinarian is on your team with regular visits and compliance with recommendations.
2. Train your dog. Disease is not the number one cause of pet death in the US, behavior is. A pet that does not come when called can escape, be attacked by predators or hit by a car. A dog that is uncontrollable may find itself relegated to the back yard, or worse the local Humane Society. Improper socialization during puppyhood can result in fearful behavior that can grow into fear biting as the dog matures. Early socialization and basic training of commands will save more pet’s lives than vaccinations.
3. Microchip your pet. Things happen, dog sitters and even boarding kennels can lose your dog, a thunderstorm can cause him to leap a fence and flee. Traveling can disorient and frighten your dog, or he may get caught up in a natural emergency. CAts, especially indoor cats need to be microchipped because if they do get out for whatever reason, they are unlikely to know their way home. Collars are great, but they can fall off, catch on things and be slipped. A microchip is forever.
4. Neuter your dog. Un-neutered dogs are most likely to end up in rescue, they are most likely to end up in biting incidents, and they are most likely to be hit by cars. If your dog is not show quality, it has no business being un-neutered – period. Breeding backyard quality dogs is not good for the breed, and it is not good for the puppies. Dogs pass on heritable diseases that high quality breeders test for and do not breed.
5. keep your dog slim. According to a Purina Foods study, dogs that are overweight are more prone to early onset metabolic diseases such as Cushings and hypothyroidism, they are more likely to exhibit signs of aging earlier than their counterparts, and die up to two years earlier. Dogs that are overweight have more joint pain, more skin problems and a higher incidence of muscoskeletal disease. Dogs that are overweight will lose quality of life sooner and die earlier than had they been a normal weight. People who have dogs that are overweight do not see it, and often deny it – this has been proven with studies. Obesity is the number one form of malnutrition in domestic pets. If your veterinarian tells you that your dog is overweight, you must believe her and make every effort to correct the situation, because truly, your pet’s life does depend on it