We often emphasize the importance of preventative care for your pets at Towne Center Animal Hospital. Designing a preventative care plan for your pets might seem a little intimidating at first, so we’re going to break it into a manageable list of things you can do to improve your pet’s health and longevity.

Regularly examine your pet 

We know you’re not a trained veterinarian, so don’t worry–the examination you’ll be giving won’t involve any complicated techniques or equipment. In reality, “examining your pet” just means paying attention to your pet and noticing any changes in their behavior or body. This can mean actively observing your pet and their habits (for example, is Fluffy regularly drinking water and using the bathroom?), as well as looking over their body to make sure they don’t have any signs of abnormalities, like redness, tenderness, bumps and lumps, patches of missing fur, or flaky skin. Brushing your pet regularly is a good way to get into the habit of examining your pet.

Bring your pet to annual wellness exams

Even if you’ve been keeping an eye on your pet and they’ve been acting normally, we still recommend that you bring them in for an annual wellness exam. During this exam, Dr. Z and his team can catch anything that you may have missed using their hands-on diagnostic training and equipment. The annual wellness exam also gives us the opportunity to administer any vaccines or preventative treatments that Dr. Z recommends for your pet, which brings us to our next point.

Keep your pet’s vaccines and preventative treatments up-to-date

There are a lot of critters out there–microscopic critters, to be exact–that can harm your pets. From ticks to viruses, there are all manner of parasitic organisms and microbes that can have serious implications for your pet’s health, even if your pet is an indoor-only animal. Regular vaccination prevents infectious viruses from preying on your pet, while preventative flea, tick and heartworm treatments essentially create a barrier against parasites in your pet. Preventative treatment is especially important for heartworms, because they are very difficult to treat in dogs and cannot be treated in cats, making them extremely deadly. We recommend that both dogs and cats begin their schedule of vaccinations and preventative treatments at about 8 weeks of age, at the doctor’s discretion. Vaccinations are given yearly to maintain immunity, while heartworm, tick and flea prevention should be administered monthly.

Do you have questions about vaccination and what it means for your pet? Read more about vaccines for dogs and cats here.

Stay educated on the basics of pet health

Did you know that feeding cats only dry food can cause health problems? Did you know that tomatoes (especially green tomatoes) are poisonous to dogs? There are a lot of little tidbits of knowledge in animal health that could one day impact your pet, so it’s a good idea to stay educated on pet health. We’ve provided multiple resources in our Pet Health section to help guide our clients in the basics of dog and cat care. If you have any other concerns, we welcome you to schedule a visit for a consultation so that we can provide you with the answers you need.

As long as you follow these four steps, you’ll be engaging in preventative care–yes, it’s that easy! To help you in your pet health journey, we will be regularly updating our Sanford Veterinarian Blog with useful information about pet health, behavior, and care. If you’re someone who prefers getting their information through a newsfeed, we recommend that you follow our blog via Facebook and Twitter, where our updates are reposted. Thanks for reading!