We love our pets and want them to be with us for a long, long time. That’s why preventive care is so important. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) have published a list of ten “must do’s” related to preventive care for your pets in their article “10 Things You Need to Know about the AAHA/AVMA Preventive Healthcare Guidelines.”
- Annual Check-ups: Make sure your pet has a check up at least once per year or more frequently if advised by your veterinarian. As your pet gets older, your veterinarian may recommend check-ups twice per year to make sure they are kept healthy and active.
- Talk with Your Veterinarian: The more you share with your veterinarian regarding your pet’s lifestyle, the more your veterinarian will be able to provide care that is tailored just for your pet. Be sure to discuss things like activity level, outdoor activity, eating habits, behavior, etc. The more your vet knows, the better healthcare he or she will be able to provide.
- Discuss Behavior Issues: If your pet is having behavior issues, your veterinarian should be your first choice for advice. Your vet is well trained in addressing behavioral issues and will be able to check for potential underlying medical issues.
- Check Annually for Dangerous Diseases: Our pets are exposed to a number of potentially life-threatening conditions and diseases. That is why it is so important to make sure your pet has an annual exam. Your veterinarian will include checking for all potential health risks and will advise if preventive treatment is necessary.
- Watch Their Weight: Maintaining proper weight is critical for your pet’s health. Your veterinarian will be able to let you know what your pet’s weight should be and can offer advice regarding helping your pet maintain that proper weight.
- Good Dental Hygiene: Poor dental hygiene can cause a number of health issues beyond simple bad breath. If left unattended, it could even lead to tooth extraction as well as serious infections.
- Prevent Parasite Invasion: Even if your pet is primarily an indoor pet, it is still at risk from fleas, ticks, heart worm and intestinal parasites. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend the best preventive treatment to keep your pet safe.
- Keep Recommended Vaccines Up to Date: Some vaccines like Rabies, are required by law. Your veterinarian will advise as to which other vaccines are recommended to ensure the long-term health of your pet. Keeping recommended vaccinations up to date is an easy way to protect the health of your pet.
- Microchip: Make sure your pet is microchipped and all of your contact information is kept up to date. Even if your pet is an indoor pet, they can sometimes manage to sneak out the door when no one is looking. Having your pet microchipped and keeping your information up to date will help make sure your pet can be located in the event he or she gets lost.
- Spay or neuter: Having your pet spayed or neutered is a simple way to prevent unwanted or unexpected pregnancy. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you regarding the proper time to have your pet spayed or neutered.
In addition to these ten tips, the AAHA/AVMA article also listed a number of questions which you should always ask your veterinarian regarding your pet’s healthcare. We have referenced the article below and encourage you to read it in its entirety.