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Every owner wants their pet to be at their best, but many people are unaware of all the ways they can help their pets enjoy longer, healthier lives. Even though we adore our pets, and we do our best to pamper them, we may be unaware of simple actions we can take to help them along their journey of life. 

1. Nutrition

When it comes to feeding your pet, the right balance of nutrients is crucial. To function normally, animals (and people) require a specific combination of protein, carbs, lipids, vitamins, minerals, and water on a daily basis. It’s critical that your pet’s nutrition be complete and balanced, whether you’re providing commercial kibble, a homemade diet, or a specialized diet.

There are meals for various life phases (such as puppies or senior pets), hypoallergenic nutrition, and formulas to manage specific health conditions such as heart disease, cancer, renal disease, and other ailments.

Every component in your pet’s food has a specific purpose. Your pet wouldn’t be able to maintain muscular tone, grow and repair tissues, perform routine everyday activities with ease, or fight infection without enough of each nutrient type. 

Proteins are an energy source that aid muscle function and growth. Fats provide energy, assist with brain function, and aid in healthy skin and fur.  Carbohydrates provide a quick source of energy for your pet, allowing them to be active. Vitamins and minerals are required for muscular contraction and nerve conduction, as well as their role in disease prevention.

2. Probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that reside in the gut. Animals’ gastrointestinal systems are home to billions of these bacteria (as well as some yeast). These beneficial gut bacteria keep the internal environment in check (a process known as homeostasis), preventing sickness and promoting good health. Up to 70% of a pet’s immunity lies within their gut making gut health of extreme importance.

In addition to strengthening the immune system, probiotics also aid in breaking down food, synthesizing vitamins and other nutrients, and fighting off bad bacteria.

Enterococcus faecium and Bacillus coagulans are two species-specific strains. Bifidobacterium animalis, Lactobacillus acidophilus, and Lactobacillus rhamnosus are some of the other probiotic strains that are known to have a profound impact on a pet’s gastrointestinal tract.

Powders, pills, and chews are all available as pet probiotic supplements. Although each probiotic is labeled with dosage and directions on how to administer, know that pet probiotics may not contain the same ingredients as human probiotics. Check with your vet about which type is appropriate for your pet before you go shopping. 

3. Dental Hygiene

Many pet owners overlook the importance of dental health when it comes to keeping their pet’s well-being. Periodontal disease can create major health problems in pets, so it’s critical to keep their mouths healthy. Dental illness left untreated can result in tooth loss, as well as painful abscesses and systemic infections throughout a pet’s body. Untreated dental health can also result in irreversible jaw damage and heart disease.

The importance of brushing a pet’s teeth cannot be overstated. Imagine how your mouth would feel if you didn’t brush for a few days, let alone months or years! They don’t need to brush their teeth every day like humans do, but brushing them a few times a week can help reduce plaque build-up. 

Most pets are resistant to brushing at first, but with practice, they will grow more patient. Make sure you get a toothpaste that is designed exclusively for pets. They may be poisoned by human toothpaste. 

Human toothbrushes won’t get most of those hard-to-reach locations, so use a toothbrush made specifically for pets. If you’re still unclear about which type of toothbrush and toothpaste to acquire for your specific breed, see your veterinarian.

Having your pet’s teeth professionally cleaned by a veterinarian is the greatest method to ensure their dental health. A checkup on their oral hygiene should be done at least once per year. 

Your veterinarian will be able to determine what is best for your pet’s teeth and will be able to address any problems they discover. A professional dental cleaning is the greatest approach to maintain your pet’s oral hygiene. They are skilled at detecting, preventing, and treating problems that even the most diligent pet owner could overlook.

4. Preventatives

Fleas and ticks are common on pets without any sort of preventative and can wreak havoc on a pet’s body. And, they can wreak havoc on your home.

Taking proactive measures to keep the fleas and ticks away is the best bet, but if your pet has already experienced fleas and ticks, it’s still important to get ahead of them before conditions worsen.  You’ll not only have a bug-free home, but you’ll also be helping to avoid diseases spread by fleas and ticks like Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and tick paralysis.

Cat scratch fever is another prevalent issue related with flea and tick infestations. A bacterium found in flea excrement collects under cat nails. When pet owners are scratched by their cats, they are easily infected, hence the moniker “Cat Scratch” fever. Flea control, on the other hand, can help prevent this and other flea-borne and tick-borne disorders.

Fleas and ticks thrive in hot, humid conditions, so start your flea and tick prevention strategies early and keep them up all year to ensure both you and your pet remain happy and healthy.

Heartworm infestations are also important to mention here. Flea and ticks can be pesty and carry disease, but heartworm can quickly become fatal and may not be curable so prevention is critical. Heartworm disease is a deadly parasitic infection that causes severe lung disease, heart failure, organ damage, and death in pets, primarily dogs and cats.

Dirofilaria immitis, a parasitic worm, is the cause. It starts out with the mosquito serving as an intermediate host, meaning that the worm larvae spend a brief length of time inside the mosquito before becoming infectious (able to cause heartworm disease).  Heartworm larvae are then transmitted via mosquito bite. The pet is the definitive host, which means the worms grow, mate, and create offspring while living within the animal. Adult worms are termed “heartworms” because they dwell in an infected animal’s heart, lungs, and blood vessels. For more information on the heartworm life cycle and how prevention works, check out the great resources the Heartworm Society creates for pet parents like yourself!

Prior to obtaining heartworm medication, the veterinarian will test for heartworm to ensure there are none currently residing in the pet’s heart. If heartworm medication is provided to a pet who already has heartworms, this could be more harmful than the heartworms themselves. As stated previously, prevention is key here.

Your veterinarian can advise you on the safest year-round flea, tick, and heartworm protection. Enquire about the best, most up-to-date, and most successful treatments.

5. Visit the Veterinarian Regularly

Veterinary appointments on a regular basis can help your pet enjoy a long, healthy, and happy life. Annual or biannual exams catch developing health problems early and help you extend your pet’s life with you. 

Early detection and action allow your veterinarian to treat a disease in its early stages, then manage it with medication or simple lifestyle adjustments. Your veterinarian can also provide you advice on how to assist your pet with living the healthiest life possible and potentially avoid many medical problems in the future.

By conducting routine tests, your veterinarian is able to take a screenshot of your pet’s health. That’s why not only is a heartworm test generally recommended, but also routine blood work and sometimes a urine and fecal analysis. 

Anemia, infection, bone marrow disorders, diabetes, and organ malfunction are all symptoms that can be detected by blood tests. Inspecting a sample of your pet’s urine might reveal a lot about his or her urinary tract and kidneys. 

A small amount of urine can aid in the detection of inflammation, infection, kidney malfunction, crystal formation, and diabetes. Intestinal parasites can hide in your pet’s bowels, robbing them of nourishment. Identifying common intestinal worms can be done as part of a routine fecal screening. Deworming treatment should be started as soon as possible to avoid the parasite population from growing and causing diarrhea and major health problems.

Schedule a Wellness Appointment Today with PetDesk

Your pet is an important part of your family. They depend on you for their health and happiness. To ensure your pet’s wellness, schedule an appointment with your vet through the PetDesk app.