Dogs and cats share some of the same health issues that vets see most frequently. Many common pet health conditions can be prevented by making sure your dog or cat eats a good quality diet, gets plenty of exercise, and sees the vet for an annual checkup. Here are a few tips on preventing some of the most common pet health issues.
Feed your pet a proper diet and avoid too many treats and table scraps. Look for high quality pet food that meets AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) standards. Choose a pet food that lists easily-digestible animal proteins like chicken, turkey, beef, fish, or lamb first. Stay away from pet foods that list animal by-products or grains and vegetables first.
Regular ear cleanings with a solution made for dogs and cats can prevent infections. Make sure the ear canal gets filled up, gently rub the base of the ear, and then let your pet shake his head. Use a cotton ball, not cotton swabs, to clean out the remaining dirt. Avoid using peroxide, oil, and soap when you clean your pet’s ears.
Upper respiratory infections
Make sure your dog and cat are up to date on vaccinations. URIs are especially common in young animals that have lived in communal environments like shelters. Puppies and kittens generally need to be vaccinated at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks to prevent common illnesses, including rhinovirus. Isolate the sick animal from other pets in the home.
As with humans, overweight pets can suffer from diabetes, particularly as they get older. Keep your pet at a healthy weight by feeding him a high quality diet, avoiding too many treats and table scraps, and making sure both dogs and cats get plenty of exercise. Older pets with diabetes can benefit from moderate exercise. Take your senior dog on two short walks a day and try engaging your older cat in play with wand toys.
Dogs and cats can both suffer from skin ailments. Some common sense prevention techniques include flea and tick control, regular brushing or combing of the coat, and feeding them a high quality diet that contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. Baths can help remove allergens from the skin and coat if your pet has allergies.
Urinary tract infections
Make sure your dog or cat drinks plenty of water throughout the day. Feed your pets good quality food and watch their weight. Obese pets have trouble grooming their private parts and are prone to bacterial infections. Keep a close eye on male cats, who are prone to urinary blockages caused by crystal formation. A special prescription urinary diet may be needed for pets prone to urinary tract problems.
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