Routine Pet Care – What Pet Owners Need To Know

If you are a pet owner, you most likely want to provide the best care possible for your pet.

One of the best ways to keep your dog or cat healthy and happy is to provide it with regular routine care.

Now, you may be wondering just what is routine care.

Read on to learn the answer to this question.

routine pet care

[photo credit Artur Ciesielski]

Required Vaccinations

Perhaps the most important routine care that you can provide for your pet is regular vaccinations. The vaccinations your pet may need on a regular basis will vary depending on the age of your pet and what type of pet you have.

However, some of the most common vaccinations that dogs and cats should receive are as follows:

Dogs

  • Rabies
  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Canine Hepatitis
  • Bordetella
  • Leptospirosis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Lyme Disease
  • Canine Influenza
  • Canine Coronavirus

Cats

  • Rabies
  • Panleukopenia
  • Feline Calici Virus
  • Rhinotracheitis
  • Feline Leukemia Virus
  • Bordetella
  • Chylamydophila Felis
  • Feline Immunodeficiency Virus

Pet Teeth Cleaning

Proper dental care is just as important for pets as it is for their human family members. Unfortunately, many pet owners neglect this aspect of pet ownership. As a result, far too many dogs and cats suffer from such conditions as tartar buildup, gingivitis, periodontal disease and early tooth loss.

However, routine teeth cleaning at your local veterinarian can help keep your pet’s teeth in great shape. If you follow your vet’s recommendations for dental care at home, your pet should only need a professional teeth cleaning once or twice a year. Depending on the condition of your dog or cat’s teeth, the following procedures may be necessary during a teeth cleaning.

  • Complete Oral Inspection
  • Removal of Plaque and Tartar
  • Assessment of Dental Disease
  • Polishing of Enamel Scratches
  • Dental X-Rays
  • Application of Dental Sealer or Fluoride
  • Removal of Infected or Broken Teeth

Heartworm Checks

Heartworm disease begins when an infected mosquito feeds off of your pet. As the mosquito feeds, it releases microfilaria into your cat or dog’s bloodstream. After some time, this microfilaria will migrate to the heart and develop into adult worms. This condition can be fatal if left untreated.

The best way to prevent heartworms in your pet is to purchase heartworm preventative medication and administer it to your pet on a regular basis. It is also recommended to have your dog or cat tested for heartworm disease each spring. Your veterinarian will accomplish this through a simple blood test.

Feline Leukemia Tests

Feline leukemia is the largest cause of deaths in felines today. As such, even if your cat has had regular feline leukemia vaccinations, it is recommended that you have it checked annually for the disease. Your veterinarian will conduct a laboratory blood test to determine whether or not your cat is infected. Common symptoms of feline leukemia are listed here.

  • Yellowing of the Mouth and Eyes
  • Weight Loss
  • Loss of Appetite
  • Frequent Bladder Infections
  • Dull Coat
  • Upper Respiratory Problems
  • Diarrhea

Deworming and Fecal Checks

There are several types of intestinal worms that pets can contract, and they are spread in different ways. Roundworms are quite common in puppies, and they are typically spread through their mother’s uterine tissues or milk.

Whipworms and hookworms are microscopic parasites that are usually spread by way of infected feces.

Tapeworms are segment-like worms that can grow as long as six inches. The eggs of tapeworms are transmitted to pets through infected fleas. Symptoms of worm infestation may vary depending on the type of worm and the seriousness of an individual pet’s infestation. However, some common symptoms are as follows:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased or Loss of Appetite
  • Weight Loss
  • Swollen Abdomen
  • Apathy or Depression
  • Rice-Like Deposits on the Hindquarters or in the Feces
  • Bloody Stools

Fortunately, routine preventative care can help to prevent most intestinal worm infestations. This is typically accomplished through regular dewormings of puppies and of females that are used for breeding purposes. Biannual fecal checks can also help to detect intestinal worms before they become serious issues.

Spaying and Neutering

There are many terrific benefits to spaying or neutering your dog or cat. For one thing, you can help to eliminate pet overpopulation. According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, millions of pets are euthanized each year, and a large number of these pets are puppies and kittens! Other benefits can be found listed below.

  • Spaying Can Help Prevent Breast Cancer and Uterine Infections in Females
  • Neutering Can Help Prevent Testicular Cancer in Males
  • Spaying Will Prevent Heat Cycles in Females
  • Sterilized Animals Are Generally Calmer
  • Neutered Males Are Less Apt to Roam
  • Neutering Cats Can Help Prevent Spraying
  • Neutering Dogs Can Help Prevent Marking

Professional Grooming

Not only can regular grooming sessions help improve your pet’s appearance, but they can improve your pet’s health as well. For example, overly long nails can be harmful to a dog’s paws, and bacteria can accumulate under matted fur.

Although your dog or cat’s grooming needs may vary depending on its breed and overall condition, some common grooming procedures are as follows:

  • Nail Clipping
  • Brushing and De-Matting
  • Hair Cutting or Shaving
  • Bathing and Flea Dips
  • Ear Cleaning
  • Hair Drying

If you own a dog or cat, you probably want to do everything you can to keep your pet healthy and happy.

Perhaps the best thing you can do for your furry friend is to provide it with regular routine care at your local veterinarian.

Not only can regular routine care keep your pet looking great, but it can prevent many common pet ailments as well!

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