As we start a new year it is a good time to be thinking about health and wellness, both for ourselves and for our pets. As a veterinarian, I would much rather promote wellness in my patients through preventive health care, rather than only responding to illness and disease. So here are 13 tips for 2013 that may serve as a new year's resolution or reminder for some of you on how you can best promote health and happiness in your pets during the coming year.
1. Go See the Vet
This is #1 on the list for a reason. All pets should go to the vet's office at least once each year. In fact, regular veterinary examinations are the most important component of any preventive health care plan. These exams often result in the early detection of changes and problems, which allows for earlier intervention.
2. Vaccinate Your Pets
Keeping your pet up to date on their vaccinations helps to protect them, and in some cases you, from numerous infectious diseases. Your veterinarian will work with you to create an individualized vaccination plan for your pet based on their specific needs and risks.
3. Take Heartworm Disease Seriously
If you do nothing else in 2013, please take heartworm disease seriously, as heartworms are endemic in our region. The good news is that heartworm disease is essentially 100% preventable if you are compliant with the administration of heartworm preventatives throughout the year and regular blood screening tests.
4. Make Exercise a Priority
Obesity in dogs and cats in this country is a growing problem. Just as in people, obesity can lead to numerous health problems in our pets, such as diabetes and arthritis. Try to make walks with your dog or interactive play sessions with your cat part of your daily routine. Your health will also benefit from the additional activity.
5. Spay or Neuter
This one is pretty straightforward. Unless you are serious about taking on the significant time and financial commitment necessary for running a responsible breeding program, you should have your pet spayed or neutered. The health benefits of this procedure greatly outweigh the risks.
6. Prevent Fleas and Ticks
These pesky pests are out there and preventing them with quality products can save you and your pets a lot of annoyance, not to mention illness, as many of these parasites also transmit numerous diseases. Always consult with your veterinarian about what products are safe and effective for use on your pet.
7. Take Nutrition Seriously
Nutrition plays a key role in your pet's overall health. There is a lot of misleading and controversial information out there about pet nutrition and it is not my intention to enter that discussion here. However, I will say that not all pet foods are created equal and the TV commercial or pet shop worker might not be the best source of information when it comes to pet nutrition. Your veterinarian can teach you more about pet nutrition and help you select a quality food for your pets.
8. Blood Work
Laboratory testing, including blood and urine tests, gives us veterinarians a more complete picture of your pet's overall health, beyond what can be evaluated with the examination alone. Therefore, routine laboratory work should be run on your pet periodically throughout life, including prior to anesthesia and as a part of a wellness-screening program in middle-aged to older pets.
9. Microchip Your Pet
Microchipping is the most reliable way of having your pet correctly identified and returned to you if they are ever lost or stolen. Remember, it only takes a brief moment for a pet to run through an open door or slip out of a collar.
10. Indoor Cat Enrichment
Numerous feline health conditions, including bladder and behavioral problems, are related to stress. Therefore, these conditions may be prevented or managed through enrichment activities, which may include changes to your cat's environment, feeding practices, and interactions. Ask your veterinarian for more information.
11. Behavioral Training
Preventive health care is important for behavioral problems too. Whether it's taking your new puppy to a good puppy class, working on obedience exercises, or decreasing potential stressors, it is important to be proactive in this aspect of your pet's life.
12. Intestinal Parasite Prevention
Regular deworming and fecal examinations are critical to preventing problems caused by intestinal parasites. This is especially important because many of these parasites can cause disease in people too. Also, be a good dog-owning citizen, and don't forget your plastic bags when you take Fido for a walk.
13. Pets Need Dental Care Too
All pets need dental care, including both professional dental cleanings and at home dental care. So schedule that appointment for a cleaning or consider trying a dental-health diet or brushing your pet's teeth. Your veterinarian can help you to create a practical plan for your situation.
The above list is not all-inclusive but is meant to cover a few of the major topics in preventive
health care for your pets. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to contact your veterinarian. We wish you and your pets a very happy and healthy 2013.
Waynedale Animal Clinic - (260) 747-4196
6221 Bluffton Road
Fort Wayne, IN 46809
Dr. Hugh S. Glidewell and Dr. Andrew W. Riebe
"Like" Waynedale Animal Clinic on Facebook to stay up to date on pet health news and information.
Global civil rights icon Nelson Mandela, whose legacy is ending South African apartheid, has died.
Thieves hit an Indianapolis home this week, stealing a large nativity scene from the front yard.
The Veteran Beer Company, a company employing solely veterans, is bringing its craft beers to Fort Wayne.
Fort Wayne officials are attributing the rise in violent crime to gangs. NewsChannel 15 spoke with a former LAPD officer about the Summit City's crime problem.
Employees at some Indianapolis fast food restaurants took part in a 100-city strike Thursday morning.
According to police, the callers in this phone scam target elderly people. The caller pretends to be the victim's grandson and says he is in trouble and needs money wired.
A bank robbery in Hoagland led to a high-speed car chase and ended with the apprehension of three people.
Police arrested a woman after she pulled a gun out on a Walmart employee and beat her with it. She told police she left the store without paying for several items because the employee was "treating her like a shoplifter."
An officer accused of coercing a drunk woman to have sex with him while she was in his custody during OWI patrol now faces felony rape charges as well as the sexual misconduct charges he was arrested for in September.
The Fort Wayne GM plant is one of two company facilities that have been chosen for a multi-million dollar investment by the automaker to turn gas generated from landfills into electricity.
Allen County Sheriff Ken Fries plans to run for the District 15 Indiana State Senate seat, which has been held by Republican Tom Wyss since 1985. Wyss announced earlier in the year he would not be seeking re-election.
From December 20 through Christmas Eve, Kohl's stores will remain open for more than 100 hours straight.
Some legal experts see potential problems with a prosecutor's proposal to hold a single trial before separate juries for the three people charged with causing a deadly explosion that devastated an Indianapolis neighborhood.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence will seek to expand the nation's broadest school voucher program to disadvantaged preschool-age children and increase access to charter schools in his second year as governor.
The 2013 homicide total in Allen County of 44 has tied the all-time record set in 1997 with the year not yet over. Paul Helmke, who was Fort Wayne's mayor in 1997, said it got so bad that he began taking the violence as a personal attack.