While in my vet’s office the other day, we started talking. She mentioned that there were so many things that most veterinarians wished that their clients knew. She believes that her patients could get better care if they would just do a few things differently while also adding a few things to their pet care routine.
The first item on her list is a yearly checkup. The yearly checkup is an opportunity for her to hear all about how my dog Buffy is doing. Regular checkups give the Vet the opportunity to catch any problems that may come up with all pets (especially with cats). Cats can hide their illness and injuries until it is too late.
The second item on the Vet’s list is dental care. In addition to preventing cavities and infection, good dental care can prevent some heart and kidney diseases. I kinda felt like one of “those” pet owners when I purchased the pet-specific toothbrushes and chicken flavored toothpaste…guess I need to get over that.
Here’s an interesting fact for you, did you know that about 52% of all dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight? Vets say that on average, a pet that is overweight lives two years less than one that is average weight. Pets, like my Buffy, that could normally deal with some bone issues find that they are in too much pain to survive them if they are overweight. I’m feeling better about keeping her on that diet because I don’t want to lose her to obesity.
Overweight pets are also at higher risk for other ailments like arthritis and heart disease. To prevent all my pets from becoming obese, we pay attention to portion control, and they get NO people food. The other side of the equation is to make sure that everyone gets lots of exercise, both physical and mental, so lots of games and lots of walks for all of us.
Which brings me to Dr. Lawson’s fourth recommendation: hygiene routine. Part of our bedtime routine now includes brushing those canines, and our weekend chores include baths and pedicures (and the wrestling matches that are probably good exercise for me, too). Bath time works well for also checking Buffy’s skin and looking for strange lumps and bumps that don’t belong. We also make sure that the first Saturday of every month is preventive medication day – Frontline, Heartguard, etc. By creating a schedule, I’m less likely to forget preventative care and just like my pets, I love routine.
Finally, Dr. Lawson said that she wishes that everyone knew that veterinarians don’t mind if you get a second opinion or request a referral to a specialist. The veterinary professionals welcome all the information they can get. With information, they can take better care of your family members. Veterinarians don’t even mind when you do web research and share the results of your searches, as long as you make sure you’re searching credible sites with quality information. That is good to know since I’m almost an Internet junkie and look up all the information I can find about what is happening with the health of my crew.
Here’s a handy chart to keep next to the family calendar or somewhere you’ll notice it to help remind you of your pet’s health routine…