1. Regular Exams are vital – Pets can develop heart problems, arthritis or have a toothache just like us. The best way to prevent such problems or catch them early is to see your veterinarian every year. If you have a senior pet, then go twice a year.
2. Spay / Neuter Your Pets – 8 to 10 million pets end up in shelters every year. Some are lost, abandoned or homeless. Cut down on that number and spay or neuter your pet. It can be done as early as 6 to 8 weeks of age. It has a substantial health benefit to your pet such as lower the risk of cancer and their risk of getting lost by decreasing their tendency to roam.
3. Prevent Parasites – Talk to your vet about the proper medications to keep you pet flea and worm free. Fleas are the most common external parasites that can lead to irritated skin, hair loss, hot spots, and infection. They can also introduce other parasites to your dog or cat. All it takes is for your pet to swallow a flea and they can end up with tapeworms, one of which is the most common internal parasites affecting dogs and cats.
4. Maintain a healthy weight – Obesity in pets comes with health risks that include diabetes, arthritis and cancer. Overfeeding is the leading cause of obesity and keeping your pet trim can add years to their life. Pets need fewer calories than most of us think. Talk to your vet because they can make the best feeding suggestion based on your pets age, weight and lifestyle.
5. Get Regular Vaccinations – For optimal health, pets need regular vaccinations against common ills, such as rabies, distemper, feline leukemia and canine hepatitis. How often your dog or cat needs to be immunized depends on their age, lifestyle, health and risks. Talk to your vet for the appropriate care.
6. Provide an Enriched Environment – Pets need mental stimulation, which may mean daily walks with your dog, scratching posts, window perches and toys for your cat. It also means interaction and play time with you, which keeps you in shape and helps to strengthen your bond with your pet.
7. ID and Microchip Your Pet – Lack of identification means as few as 14% of pets never find their way home after getting lost. Make sure your pet is wearing a collar with ID Tags and is microchipped. A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is inserted under the skin in less than a second. It needs no battery and can be scanned by a vet or an animal control officer in seconds. Make sure to register the Chip ID with the chip's maker. A current registration is the vital last step in making certain your pet can always find his way home.
8. Dental Care – Pets can suffer from gum disease, tooth loss, and tooth pain. In addition to regular dental cleanings by your vet, owners can brush and use oral rinses and treats to help keep their pets teeth healthy.
9. Never Give Your Pet Human Medications – NSAID's like ibuprofen and naproxen are the most common pet poisoning culprits, but antidepressants, decongestants, muscle relaxants, and acetaminophen are just a few of the human drugs that pose a health risk to pets. Human drugs can cause kidney damage, seizures and cardiac arrest in a dog or cat.
10. Proper Restraint in a Vehicle – Unrestrained pets in a car are a distraction to the driver and can put the driver at risk for serious injury. Never allow pets to travel in the front seat as they risk being thrown from the vehicle in the event of the accident. Do let dogs ride with their heads out of the window or loose in the back of a pick-up truck. To keep pets safe, confine cats to carriers then secure the carrier with a seatbelt. For dogs, there is the option of a special harness attached to a seatbelt or a well-secured kennel.
You won't need a ticket or ball gown to attend this inauguration event. During the Houston SPCA's "Presidential Paws" adoption extravaganza, from January 25th through January 27th, felines and canines are available to approved adopters at half the normal adoption fee (*some restrictions apply).
Each feline / canine adoption package, valued at over $400, includes the following:
- A health evaluation, age-appropriate vaccinations and rabies vaccinations for felines / canines three months and older
- Spay / neuter surgery
- Heartworm testing for canines six months and older
- Microchipping with free lifetime registration
- A complimentary overall wellness examination provided by a VCA Animal Hospital
- One adoption gift courtesy of Hill's Science Diet