It is National Pet Wellness Month, and we celebrate Halloween. This is the perfect time to share with you tips to keep your pet healthy year-round and tips to keep your pet safe when the spooks come out on October 31st.
1. Give Them a Good Diet
Obesity in pets has become a growing problem for pet parents and veterinarians. Nearly 60% of cats and 54% of dogs equaling over 50 million cats and 42 million dogs are at risk for weight-related disorders such as diabetes, high blood pressure, respiratory disease, and kidney disease.
We offer Hill’s Science Diet prescription dog and cat food for pets with food allergies and special dietary needs.
2. Exercise Your Pet
Regularly exercising your pets is just as important as giving them a healthy diet. It helps your pet stay fit and strong and improves their mood. Your pet’s activity depends on age, breed, size, and overall health. If you are unsure what your pet needs, we will be happy to discuss this with you. Here is a rough guideline you can use.
Dogs should spend 30 minutes to two hours on an activity every day.
Cats should have two play sessions daily for 10 to 15 minutes per day.
3. Provide Fresh, Clean Water
Clean drinking water is essential to a pet’s well-being. Make sure your pet has access to fresh, clean water every day. If you use water fountains, follow the manufactures recommendations for cleaning and adding fresh water. Dirty water can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and other gastrointestinal issues.
4. Maintain Good Dental Care
Most dogs and cats have some degree of periodontal disease by age 3. If left untreated, these patients are at an increased risk for developing heart valve diseases and kidney disease. So professional cleanings and at-home dental care are vital. You can read more about pet dental care from our blog: Pet Dental Health.
To learn how to brush your pets’ teeth at home, you can watch this video from the AVMA:
5. Groom Your Pets
Whether you use professional or at-home grooming, grooming does a lot to keep your pet healthy by keeping their nails trimmed and their coats looking healthy. Grooming is also an excellent way to keep an eye on changes in your pet’s fur or skin, like dandruff, bald patches, dry skin, pests, or lumps and bumps that may cause concern.
We offer professional grooming at Countryside Veterinary Service. Our grooming packages include a bath, complete coat brushing, nail trim, ear cleaning, cologne dip, and a blow-dry. Our professional groomer on staff also provides haircuts for all breeds.
6. Keep Them Pest Free
Parasites such as fleas, ticks, lice, and mites can cause many problems with pets. Reactions to pests can range from mild allergic reactions to severe or even fatal reactions from heartworm disease, Lyme disease, demodectic mange, and so forth. Please ask us about our flea and heartworm preventatives.
7. Protected Your Pets from Harsh Weather
Extreme heat or cold weather conditions are not safe for pets. For example, animals exposed to cold, dry air, rain, or snow can suffer from chapped paws and itchy, flaking skin. Animals left out in the cold without proper protection can suffer hypothermia significantly when temperatures drop below 20 degrees F. As cold weather is coming upon us, we suggest you review our blog: Cold Weather Safety Tips.
8. Stay Observant.
Let us know if you notice changes in your pet’s usual behavior patterns or health. Changes in eating or sleeping habits, temperament, becoming restless, etc. can sometimes indicate an underlying health condition. Communicating any changes can help your veterinarian catch problems early on before they become big
9. Keep Your Pet’s Wellness Appointments
Your pet can benefit greatly from regular wellness examinations or checkups. Whether your pet is a youngster, a “senior citizen,” or of any age, a pet wellness exam is essential to their healthcare. A wellness exam allows us to conduct a thorough physical examination and develop a health profile for your pet. This information will help us identify medical problems and other issues affecting your pet’s health and quality of life.
10. Give Them Plenty of Love
Finally, give them lots of love. Pet owners should spend at least one hour per day with their animals, whether playing, grooming, or just spending quality time together.
Halloween safety Tips
1. No candy for pets!
Candy is the number 1 danger for pets during Halloween. The most toxic candy that can lead to death contains one or more of the following:
So please, keep candy out of reach of your pets. Also, educate your children so they don’t give candy to your pets.
2. Choose pet costumes wisely.
Don’t force your pet into a costume. Some pets can tolerate them, but some don’t. If your pet can, ensure it fits and doesn’t restrict its movement. Your pet should be able to move, breathe, eat, drink, and see as they usually would. Also, ensure there are no parts to the costume that your pet could bite off and swallow or choke on, such as rubber bands or costume jewelry.
3. Keep costumes and Halloween decorations away from pets.
Pets can accidentally ingest something that could potentially harm them or even be fatal. Costumes, particularly, can have parts or accessories that can be dangerous to pets. For example, string can obstruct your pet’s gut and intestines. Especially with cats, this can become life-threatening.
Pets can accidentally knock over candles and Jack 0’lanterns, and it doesn’t take long for a fire to spread!
4. Keep your pets indoors and in a safe place.
On Halloween, we see pets injured because they were out of doors and became the target of a cruel prank. Or pets get scared and escape yards or homes and become lost. It is best to bring your pets indoors and kept in a safe room, so they do not become excited or anxious when the doorbells ring and strangers come to the door. You can also give dogs and cats calming treats and play relaxing music to distract them.
5. Make sure your pets can be identified in case it gets out and lost.
Make sure your pet has an up-to-date, registered microchip, collar, and ID tag just in case it escapes through an open door while you’re distracted by trick-or-treaters.
There is a lot of responsibility in caring for a pet. But they return so much love for the care we give them. Please follow the above tips to keep your pet healthy year-round and have a safe, fun, Halloween!
Dr. Stacey Funderburk
Countryside Veterinary Services