March 23, 2016 Blog Wellness

4 Tips to Get Your Pet Ready for Spring

4 Tips to Get Your Pet Ready for Spring

levingston-puppy-1_3.jpgSpring arrived just this past weekend.  With vernal equinox comes a desire to shape up and be healthier for the coming summer months. Why not include your pet in your springtime health improvement plan?  Here are four tips to help you meet that goal.

  1. Exercise your pet’s body
    Take advantage of the increased number of daylight hours by spending time outdoors exercising with your pet.  Even indoor cats can enjoy outdoor time wearing a harness and leash. Exercise has several health benefits. First, exercise helps keep your pet in tip top condition, and we know pets with ideal body condition have less disease and live longer than those who are overweight. The other benefit of exercise with your dog is for you! Dog owners are healthier than non-dog owners, in part because they get more exercise.
  2. Exercise your pet’s mind
    Some of the time you spend with your pet should exercise their minds to keep them mentally fit. Play games like hide and seek with their favorite toy or create your own feeding puzzle from a tennis ball and some dog treats. Slice an opening along the tennis ball seam. Make the opening big enough to insert a few dog treats. Watch your dog figure out how to flatten the ball and make the treats fall out. To make a cat feeding toy, use an empty plastic water bottle with a screw top lid. Cut little holes in the plastic bottle which are big enough to let your cat’s dry food fall out when the bottle is rolled on the floor. Put a few morsels of dry food in the bottle, cap it, and this low cost toy will keep your cat mentally engaged. If your cat or dog inhales their food, a feeding toy is one method of slowing food consumption so they feel full sooner and eat less.
  3. Take good care of your pet’s teeth
    In pet owner surveys, tooth and gum disease is listed as one of the top health concerns for dogs and cats. Keeping your pet’s mouth healthy involves a multi-pronged approach of daily brushing, annual cleaning and tooth-safe toys. Ignoring dental care can lead to tartar build up, periodontal disease and tooth loss. Your veterinarian will examine your dog or cat’s teeth during an annual examination and recommend appropriate dental care. But of course your veterinarian can only make recommendations if you make an appointment for an annual exam.
  4. Prevent disease
    You may think this is your veterinarian’s job, but I am only the first stop for disease prevention. The Companion Animal Parasite Council recommends preventative medications for all pets against heartworm, intestinal parasites, fleas, and ticks. I can prescribe these medications but if you don’t give them on schedule, your pet is at risk for contracting heartworm disease, intestinal worms and diseases carried by ticks, such as Lyme disease. Most preventive medications have smartphone apps to remind you when it is time to give them. Check the package for the product’s web address and set up regular reminders.

For me, the arrival of spring signals my favorite season of the year. By following these easy tips, it should be your favorite time of the year too since you can enjoy it knowing your pet is healthier.

Tags: amcny, animal medical center, animals, ann hohenhaus, cats, dogs, health, pets, spring, veterinary,

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