8 Vet Tips Every Pet Owner Should Remember

If you think you know everything as a pet owner because you have been taking care of your furry friend for years, think again. Pets are constantly evolving, as is the science behind keeping them healthy and happy.

Here are 8 tips from expert veterinarians (such as these Vancouver veterinarians) that every pet owner should remember:

Get to know your animal’s “normal.”

This means knowing their normal behaviors, weight, eating habits, and energy levels. This way, you will notice more when something is off and take them to the vet sooner. Most pet owners wait until their animal is sick or in pain to take them to a vet clinic.

This is the importance of regular vet visits and check-ups so that you can catch problems early on.

Dogs and cats age differently.

A dog’s age is similar to a human’s age in that they mature quickly and then age more slowly. For example, a one-year-old dog is approximately the equivalent of a 15-year-old human. This means that they are considered senior citizens when they reach seven years old.

On the other hand, Cats age more like humans in that they mature slowly and then age quickly. A one-year-old cat is approximately the equivalent of a 16-year-old human. So by the time they reach seven years old, they are considered elderly.

Spay or neuter your pet.

This has been a controversial subject whether or not to spay or neuter pets. Some pet owners believe that it is cruel to do so because it means altering their animal’s natural state. However, there are many good reasons to spay or neuter your pet.

According to a study by the University of Georgia published in 2013 based on the medical records of 70,000 animal patients, they found out that the life expectancy of neutered male dogs was 13.8 percent longer. Similarly, they saw that the life expectancy of spayed female cats was 26.3 percent longer.

In addition, millions of shelter animals are euthanized because there are simply not enough homes for them all. Spaying or neutering your pet helps reduce this problem.

Moreover, spaying or neutering can help improve your pet’s health. For example, female dogs spayed before their first heat cycle are much less likely to develop mammary cancer later in life. The risk of prostate cancer is also reduced for neutered male dogs.

Feed your pet a balanced diet.

Chubby cats and dogs may be cute, but those extra pounds can lead to serious health problems such as diabetes, arthritis, and high blood pressure. Like humans, a healthy diet for pets is important for maintaining a healthy weight.

When choosing pet food, always look for something complete and balanced. This means that it meets all of your pet’s nutritional needs. It should also be age-appropriate. For example, puppy food is formulated for growing puppies and their specific nutritional needs, while senior food is made for older dogs whose metabolism has slowed down.

Don’t neglect dental care.

Pets need comprehensive dental care to prevent oral disease, just like us humans. Dental disease is one of the most common health problems in pets, yet it is also one of the most preventable.

Start brushing your pet’s teeth when they are young to get used to it. Use a pet-specific toothbrush and toothpaste (never use human toothpaste on your pet as it can make them sick). You can also give them dental chews or treats to help keep their teeth clean.

Ultimately, the best way to keep your pet’s teeth healthy is to take them to the vet for regular dental cleanings.

Be cautious with human medications.

Never try to give your pet any human medication without consulting your veterinarian first. Many human medications, even over-the-counter ones, can be toxic to pets. For example, acetaminophen (Tylenol) is safe for humans but can be fatal for cats.

It is always best to stay on the safe side and talk to your vet before giving any type of medication, even if it is something as simple as ibuprofen.

Get pet insurance.

Pet insurance can be a lifesaver when your animal gets sick or injured, and you need to pay for expensive vet bills. It is becoming increasingly popular as people realize how beneficial it can be.

For instance, if your pet needs veterinary surgery services, the costs can be upwards of $2,000. If you have pet insurance, you will only be responsible for a small percentage of that bill, and the insurance company will cover the rest.

A complete vaccine is not enough, so they need booster shots.

Pets need booster shots to help them build up immunity against diseases. For example, puppies and kittens need a series of vaccinations when they are young, and then they need booster shots every year or two thereafter.