3 Simple Pet Health Tips for 2018

Want a few easy tips that can maximize your pet's health in 2018? Here are 3 simple things that can change your pet's life!

1. Help your pet lose weight. Pet obesity is an epidemic with 54% of our nations pets being overweight or obese. Obesity can lead to arthritis, diabetes, skin infections, and a reduced lifespan and quality of life. If your pet is overweight, it is imperative to take action. Don't know where to begin? First, be honest about how much food and how many treats your pet eats throughout the day. Then decrease the food AND treats by 25%. A small food reduction can make a huge impact. If you are free feeding, transition to 2 or 3 measured meals throughout the day. To measure your success, come to the clinic for monthly weight checks. Need help on figuring out how much your dog or cat should weigh? Come in for a Body Condition Score analysis and we can provide support to help you succeed! For more weight loss tools visit the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

2. Improve your pet's oral health. Did you know that 80% of dogs and cats have periodontal disease by age 3? Regular tooth brushing is the most important thing you can do to prevent periodontal disease in your pet. If your pet's teeth already have tartar buildup and gingivitis, then a full dental cleaning is needed before starting a brushing routine. Full dental cleanings require general anesthesia and include a full oral exam, scaling and polishing of all the teeth, probing for pockets of infection, and possibly dental x-rays. Short on time? Give your pet a VOHC approved dental chew  or dental diet such as Hills Prescription t/d. Remember, NO BONES. Bones, antlers, and other hard chew toys cause broken teeth and oral trauma.

3. Provide enrichment for your pet. Environmental enrichment minimizes behavior/boredom problems like chewing, digging, urine marking, and scratching. Environmental enrichment doesn't have to be time consuming or difficult and can be a life-saver in inclement weather. Teach your dog a new trick, use a food puzzle at meal time, or freeze food-filled Kong toys for a distraction when you leave. Have indoor cats? Add vertical perches or shelves for climbing, paper bags for hiding, or hang a bird feeder outside a window for cat TV.

I hope these tips are helpful and I wish everyone a happy, healthy 2018!