From the moment you welcome a new cat or dog to your home, you are responsible for their health. Visit the AAHA Healthy Pet website for a variety of resources. Here are a few tips to ensure your pet is healthy and happy!
• Schedule a visit with your primary care veterinarian, your pet will need regular care from them!
• Vaccines and Preventative Medicine
Many serious infectious diseases of cats and dogs can be controlled by vaccination. With well over 20 million pets in the U.S., it is quite likely just about any pet will come in contact with an infectious disease at one time or another. Even indoor cats can be exposed to viral diseases carried in the air, dust, or on clothing. Vaccination is inexpensive protection against costly treatment, or even premature death of a pet!
Fleas are the number one allergen of dogs and cats and can cause severe skin disease and itching. For this reason, the appropriate flea preventative medication should be used. Another reason fleas should be treated is due to the fact that they can carry and spread several serious diseases, such as tapeworms, Cat scratch disease (Bartonella), murine typhus, and the bubonic plague.
Heartworm can strike both dogs and cats, but is much more commonly seen in dogs. As its name implies, heartworm lives in the blood of a dog’s or cat’s heart and adjacent blood vessels. The adult heartworms living in the heart produce offspring, called microfilariae, which circulate in the infected animal’s blood. When a mosquito “bites” an infected pet, it sucks out blood containing the microfilariae. After about two weeks in the mosquito, the microfilariae become infective larvae. This step is necessary for the transmission of heartworm. When the mosquito bites another pet, the infective larvae are transmitted.
Heartworms and fleas are threats to your pet and prevention is very important. Contact your primary care veterinarian for recommendations on what is best for your pet!
Always provide fresh water and healthy food but be sure to provide the recommended feeding amounts on the bag, you don’t want to under or over feed your pet! Talk with you primary care veterinarian for suggestions on the best food for your pet.
It is best to keep pets indoors during the winter months, but if this is not possible, outdoor pets must be provided with shelter. Their home should be elevated off the ground to prevent moisture accumulation and have a door of some kind to keep out winter winds, sleet, and snow. Shelters should be insulated or heated. Water sources may be heated to permit constant access to unfrozen water; thermal units designed specifically for this purpose are readily available. Outdoor pets require extra calories to keep warm, so feed your pet according to its needs when the temperature drops. In severely cold or inclement weather, no pet should be kept outside.
Indoor pets should have sleeping quarters in a draft-free, warm area with their bed or mattress elevated slightly off the floor.