15 Helpful Healthy Hints For You And Your Pets

A healthy pet makes for not just happy pets but happy owners as well. All pet owners appreciate the unconditional love and companionship that their pets provide them, but just like with raising children, caring for a pet requires you as the owner to take on a great amount of responsibility. Just as it is dealing with infants and toddlers, dogs and cats, the most common household pets, are very curious creatures. They will touch anything that looks interesting and eat nearly anything that grabs their senses.

It is essential for you as a responsible pet owner to not only pay attention to how your pet is feeling on a daily basis but also to understand what steps you can take preventatively to ensure that you are doing everything you can to keep your pets not only healthy but safe at all times.

Your Pet Health Saving Account (PHSA) is always there for you to help you prepare to pay for any expected or unexpected medical needs for your pets, but here are some simple and important preventative measures you can take to be a more responsible pet owner and avoid unnecessary vet visits and costs:

15 Helpful Healthy Hints For You And Your Pets

The health of any pet can be adversely affected by the quality of the food that you feed them. Just as it is with humans, a well-balanced diet plan that incorporates the highest quality of food that you can comfortably afford is one of the essential keys to your pet’s good health condition. Every pet has its own unique nutritional needs, so you should consult your veterinarian on the brand and version of food that they think would be best suited for your pet. In addition, be wary of “rewarding” your pet with unhealthy table scraps, and if you are going to give them “human” food consider fruits and vegetables that your veterinarian would approve of.
Like humans, pets also need regular exercise in order to keep them mentally and physically fit. Daily walks for dogs and playing fetch outside almost go without saying, and there are also various other exercise toys available for both dogs and cats.
Finding the right veterinarian for you and your pets’ needs is absolutely imperative. Just like with annual human well checks, routinely taking your pet to the vet is the most reliable way to catch a medical issue before it spirals out of control for you and your pet. Veterinarians will also help your craft an optimal diet plan and monitor the weight and health condition of your pet. They will also notify you if there are any early symptoms of fatal diseases that you need to be concerned about.

Vaccinations are essential to safeguard your pet from harmful diseases such as rabies, distemper, parvo, and canine hepatitis. It is your responsibility to ensure that you stay committed to keeping your pet on the vaccination schedule that your vet recommends.
Maintaining a clean house with some pets is easier than others, but the bottom line is that sustaining a clean home environment is important not just for you but also for the long-term health care of your pet. Keep in mind that your pets will be exposed to germs and parasites from the places they spend the most time in, which is why it is important to keep their sleep and play areas as hygienic as possible.
Just as with their human counterparts, pets also need good grooming, which will help them look and feel healthy both inside and out. Make sure your pets are well groomed starting with their fur and nails. Regular grooming also helps to prevent fleas, ticks, parasites and other even more serious illnesses. Make sure your also regularly clean your dogs’ paws, especially after walks. Veterinarians almost universally recommend closely monitoring and keeping your dogs and cats on year-round heartworm and flea and tick control. Speak to your veterinarian for the best products for your pet to prevent worms and parasites and also consider the wide range of natural alternatives available on the market today.

All dogs and cats benefit from frequent brushings, nail trimmings and ear cleanings. When cleaning your pets’ ears, consider using an ear cleaning solution approved by your veterinarian such as a mix of hydrogen peroxide and water with a damp cloth and your finger (but never use cotton swabs or Q-tips since they can damage your dog’s ears). Bathing is also a key factor in keeping your pets healthy and free of potentially harmful invaders. How often you bathe a pet depends mostly on their current state of health. Healthy dogs and cats may only need a bath twice a month. Other pets will require more frequent bathing and potentially, based on their health, with a medicated shampoo to treat irritated or infected skin. Consult with your veterinarian to help you make the most informed decisions for your pets’ hygiene.
Oral health is another important element of your pets’ overall health. Many pets will eat or chew nearly anything they sees on the floor or ground, which will make them more susceptible to gum disease and chronic oral pain. The solution? Regular brushing or dental cleanings from the vet is the best way to help your pet’s teeth and gums to remain strong and healthy, especially as they are growing.
Besides making sure your pets will not be creating another potential pet for you, spaying and neutering also provides other health and behavioral benefits for your pets such as helping to prevent uterine infections and tumors.
It’s important to remember that pets, just like people, can be very sensitive to the weather and weather changes. When it is hot outside, make sure you keep you pet well hydrated so that overheating and heat strokes can be prevented. Animals have a different internal cooling system than humans. Spend a lot of time playing in shaded or covered areas with enough water on hand. Never leave a pet alone in a hot car. When the weather turns cold, limit their exposure to the elements, and if need be, provide them with cold-weather accessories like sweaters, booties and head warmers for extra protection to help them avoid colds and other sicknesses.
It is up to you as the owner to make sure you are fully prepared for any emergency injury or health issues for your pet that could arise. It is a good idea to keep a pet medicine box or kit in your home just like you would with a human first aid kit. As your pet gets older and their health condition changes, this first aid kit will change over time. Consult with your vet on all the essential medicines and supplies to include in your kit.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association, “Early socialization [in dogs] and appropriate exposure to various people and situations at a young age decreases the odds of antisocial or fearfully aggressive behaviors as an adult.” From a few weeks old to about 18 weeks is the most critical period for socialization, so even though these are some of the more challenging times with new pets, make sure they are still getting plenty of both human and animal interactions. This emphasis on socialization should continue throughout your pets’ lives. Besides visiting with family and friends who may also have pets, taking regular trips to the dog park can helpful as well as going for daily walks around the neighborhood.
It’s important to recognize any changes from your pets’ typical behaviors that you have come to expect. These can include scratching or itching themselves more often than usual, waking up more in the middle of the night, urinating more frequently and eating less than usual. Any deviation from the norm could possibly indicate a developing health issue. It’s always smart to be safe than sorry, so if you notice these types of issues that are out of the ordinary be sure to contact your vet to see if an exam might be needed.
There are both new and traditional ways to go the extra mile to protect your pets from themselves. Collars with ID tags are obviously a must to help others identify your pet in an emergency, but nowadays you can also have access to pet microchips that go underneath their skin and can let you know where they are at all times. There are also helpful measures that you can take inside your home to keep your pet safe such as making sure you put potential safety hazards and toxic substances out of reach from your pet.
Some dog chew toys available in pet stores like bones and rawhides have been shown to damage dogs’ teeth over time. It is always safer to opt for softer chew toys that will not damage their teeth and pose no choking hazard.
When pets get older their nutritional requirements change because, just as with humans, their ability to digest certain foods and what they need from a nutritional standpoint changes. For example, pets will urinate more as they age meaning they will need to drink more water than before to stay hydrated. It is good to increase the amount of protein your pets consume as they age to help them stay strong, but it is usually a good idea to avoid red meats that will force their kidneys to work harder. Consult your pediatrician for the best diet plan for your older pets.

Cash is always king, so be sure to let your veterinarian know that you are a cash patient with your debit card and see if they offer any discounts for paying out of pocket. You can also check for discounts for military and seniors if that applies to you. Finally, do not be afraid to speak up and ask for a less expensive alternatives for medication that your vet is prescribing to see if that might be possible.


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