5 Tips to Add Years to Your Pet’s Life
We all wish our pets could live forever. At Island Animal Hospital, we, unfortunately, do not possess an eternal youth elixir for your pets, but we can help ensure they live a long, healthy, and happy life by taking a proactive approach to their health and wellbeing. Our team shares five tips that can add years to your pet’s life.
Spay or neuter your pet
Spaying or neutering your pet not only prevents accidental litters and limits pet overpopulation, but also contributes to their overall health and wellness. By removing non-essential reproductive organs at an appropriate age, you lower your pet’s risk of many associated, sometimes life-threatening, health problems.
- Benefits of spaying —Spaying your female is a simple way to help her live a longer, healthier life. Spayed female pets have a much lower risk of developing mammary cancer—fatal in about 50% of dogs and 90% of cats—uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, and pyometra, which is a serious, potentially deadly uterine infection that typically develops after a pet has experienced a heat cycle.
- Benefits of neutering — Neutered male pets are less likely to develop testicular and prostate cancer, plus many male pets’ least desirable behaviors, such as marking, spraying, mounting, and aggressiveness, are reduced or eliminated after they are neutered.
Spaying or neutering your pet is one of the best ways to reduce their cancer risk, eliminate unwanted behaviors, and add years to their life. Also, the procedures are a pet owner’s important responsibility.
Don’t skip your pet’s biannual wellness exams
Regular wellness exams and preventive care are essential for your pet’s long-term health. When you bring your pet to Island Animal Hospital for a biannual exam, your veterinarian will perform a nose-to-tail physical assessment and screenings that monitor your pet’s health, identify potential illness signs, and diagnose diseases in their earliest stages when they are easier to manage and treat. Your veterinarian will also ensure that your pet is up to date on their vaccinations and monthly parasite preventives that protect against a variety of infectious diseases.
Keep your pet at a healthy weight
Overweight pets are at an increased risk for serious, potentially life-threatening health issues. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than half of our nation’s dogs and cats are overweight or obese. Compared with healthy weight pets, obese pets have a shorter lifespan and are more likely to experience serious health issues, including:
- Orthopedic injury
- Respiratory problems
- Skin disorders
- Kidney failure
- Endocrine and metabolic disorders
You can maintain your pet’s healthy weight much like you maintain your own weight—through diet and exercise. Use an online dog
calorie calculator—or ask your veterinarian—to calculate your pet’s required daily caloric intake, and the exact portion you should feed them at each meal. Be mindful of the treats you give your pet throughout the day and ensure they do not comprise more than 10% of your pet’s daily calorie intake. Find an exercise routine that you and your pet enjoy, and exercise consistently, at least daily.
Keep your pet secure outside
Your pet can safely run free in a fenced backyard or dog park, but keep them leashed on the street and in public places to reduce their risk of injury or becoming lost.
- Cars —An unsecured pet may run into the street because they don’t know to look both ways. They may be struck by a vehicle and sustain serious, possibly fatal, injuries.
- Other pets — Your pet may love meeting new furry friends, but you cannot know if other pets are friendly. An off-leash pet is vulnerable to attacks from other pets and wildlife.
- Missing pets — Leashed pets are less likely to get lost. Your pet should always wear a collar with identification tags with your current information, and a microchip increases their chances of being returned to you should they become lost. However, keeping your pet on a leash outside is always safest.
Take care of your pet’s dental health
Dental disease is one of the most common medical conditions in pets, with more than 70% of dogs and 80% of cats showing periodontal (i.e., dental) disease signs by age 3. Dental health plays a major role in your pet’s overall wellbeing, and you can easily reduce their dental disease risk with:
- Biannual veterinary dental exams, which usually are part of a wellness screening
- Ensuring regular professional teeth cleanings, according to your veterinarian’s recommendations
- Daily at-home toothbrushing
Your pet won’t live forever, but you can help add quality years to their life. Contact our team at Island Animal Hospital
to schedule your pet’s wellness exam, and give your pet the gift of a long, healthy life.