As pet owners, we all want our furry family members to live forever. Unfortunately this is impossible but there are some things you can do to give them a longer, healthier life. There are always unforeseen conditions that may come up with your pet’s health, but by following the steps below, you can help achieve your goal of lengthening their lives.
1) Maintaining proper exercise and food routines. Just like with us, regular exercise is one of the most important things we can be doing to help maintain an ideal body weight. An additional benefit is getting us up and out of the house as well…..once again, very important. Moderate walks at least 3 times a week is a good initial goal to set.
Food intake is another factor that affects our pet’s body condition. Keeping an eye on your pet’s caloric intake isn’t as easy as reading human food labels but can be done with a little perseverance. Generally, there are feeding recommendations listed on the bags / cans of food which are good starting points but often times are more than necessary. Watching your pet’s weight and overall body condition allows you to make the necessary adjustments in your pet’s diet. Our Tampa veterinarians generally rely on body conditions guidelines versus weights to help your pet achieve it’s optimal, healthy body condition.
2) Regular exams with your veterinarian. Having your pet seen on a regular basis (at least yearly) allows many conditions / risk factors to be identified early. Just like in human medicine, prevention is key! With our canine and feline patients, they have inherited the ability to hide many diseases until late in the course of illness making them harder to treat or regulate. By having your veterinarian examine your pet regularly, not just when they are feeling bad, they can identify many conditions early making them easier and cheaper to treat. One of the tools that are used to help achieve this, is blood work. Many times lab work will identify small changes before your pet is showing symptoms of a disease, once again helping achieve a safer, easier treatment plan. (Our Tampa veterinary clinic recommends yearly exams for pets up to 7 years old and twice yearly exams for those above the age of 7.)
3) Dental care. One of the most forgotten aspects of your pet’s preventative care is making sure they have a clean, healthy mouth. Doing proper home care and having a proper veterinary dental cleaning done when necessary (not just when they are having “dog breath”) is the way to achieve this. With poor dental hygiene, your pet’s mouth is loaded with bacteria that they are constantly swallowing causing many different systemic problems.
These are just a few steps you can follow to help your pet live a longer, healthier life. Our veterinarians in Tampa are always here to help out or answer any questions you may have.