Anyone who has ever owned a pet knows how much they can enrich our lives. Lizards and hamsters and snakes – oh my. There are so many different varieties of pets it would be difficult to list them all. But by far the most popular pets in America are cats and dogs. Someone once said that there are two types of people in this world, cat people or dog people. But I like to think that we are all the same type, the type that loves animals.
Whether you purchase an animal from a breeder or adopt one from a shelter, it is important that you take your new pet to the veterinarian for a new pet exam. Establishing a good relationship with the vet is one of the best things you can do for the health of your pet. The veterinarian becomes the “primary care physician” for your pet and establishes a relationship if you have pet health issues down the road. This exam is a good time to review vaccines and identify any health concerns. Here are a few tips for keeping your pet happy and healthy for years to come.
Spay and Neuter
Spaying or neutering can be good for your pet’s health. It can reduce the risk for certain types of cancer. It prevents females from going into heat, makes dogs less likely to stray away from home and makes for better behaved male dogs. Spaying or neutering helps prevent unwanted litters and pet overpopulation. If you live in Tulsa, it is required by city ordinances that pets be spayed or neutered.
In Oklahoma this mosquito borne disease is very common. It is possible to treat heartworm disease but the process is painful, expensive, and leaves your pet with permanent damage. Today’s heartworm prevention treatments are safe, effective and relatively inexpensive.
Annual wellness exams are key to protecting your pet’s overall health. They help identify health concerns early so they can be treated /managed. These visits can also be a great opportunity to ask question about how to care for your pet. It should also be a time to get current immunizations.
Flea and Tick Treatment
When Oklahoma has a mild winter, flea and tick control become an issue for our pets. It is well worth it to pay a little extra to get the flea and tick treatment from your vet’s office where you know the products are safe and effective. These parasites can carry deadly diseases that infect both people and animals. Try to steer clear of the discount flea and tick products since some of these can actually be harmful to your pet.
Just as in humans, feeding your pet high quality food is the key to good health. Raw food diets are not necessary and the food does not have to be grain free unless your pet has a grain allergy. Some food brands recommended by vets are Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin, and Purina Pro Plan because they have their own production facilities.
I encourage you to follow these simple rules to have a happy and healthy pet. Be sure to use the free download “Foods You Should Never Feed Your Pet”. There is a list for dogs and a list for cats. The download includes a list of local restaurants that allow dogs on their patios. After downloading the list, be sure to review it with family members especially small children who might be tempted to share their candy.
Author: Mary Covey
Mary Covey is a long time member of Bixby’s First Baptist who volunteers her time to guest write for our blog. Mary is an expert quilter, published author, and proud grandmother.