While most pet owners believe that wellness care consists largely of their pet “getting shots,” preventive medicine is more than vaccinating against disease. We believe that vaccinations are an important part of your pet’s health-care plan, but they are only one small component of what our Total Wellness for Life Plans can do for your pet’s health and happiness.

We like to break your beloved companion’s wellness care into three parts—prevention, early detection, and quick intervention. Prevention is key for avoiding health issues that can be halted with adequate care. With early detection and intervention, we can monitor your pet for issues lurking below the surface and treat them at the earliest stage, granting your pet a better outcome with simpler treatment. As part of your New Year’s resolutions for 2020, create goals in each aspect of preventive care to help your pet live a long and healthy life. 

#1: Vaccinate your pet to protect her from disease

Vaccinations are important for protecting your pet from life-threatening diseases that are largely preventable with appropriate vaccination. We will discuss your pet’s lifestyle and exposure risk, and create a vaccination protocol tailored to her needs. For example, if you do not board your dog, or she does not visit a groomer or interact with strange dogs, we will not recommend a Bordetella, or kennel cough, vaccination. For cats who are exposed to strays or fosters, we would recommend vaccinating for feline leukemia. 

#2: Administer monthly parasite preventives to your pet

Fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and intestinal parasites can transmit a wide variety of diseases to your pet, and also infect you. Protect your pet and your family by giving your pet her preventive on schedule. Ensure you know the effective period of her preventive product, as some need monthly administration, while others can last three months or longer. To help you remember to dose your pet appropriately, create a repeating reminder in your phone. Parasites and their diseases are much easier to prevent than to treat, or eradicate from your home. For example, consider the cost of heartworm treatment versus prevention—staging an affected pet and treating her for heartworm disease may cost more than $1,000, compared with the approximate $15 per dose that a monthly preventive costs, and that does not take the permanent scarring of your pet’s blood vessels into account. 

#3: Provide regular dental care to prevent painful periodontal problems in your pet

Maintaining your pet’s oral health provides many more benefits than fresh breath. The bacteria from plaque and tartar accumulation can create serious problems, such as painful gingivitis, tooth-root abscesses, bone loss, and heart, kidney, and liver disease. Ensuring your pet has a clean mouth contributes to her overall health and well-being, and is an aspect of preventive care that should not be ignored. Create an at-home dental-care regimen that includes toothbrushing, dental chews and treats, water additives, oral wipes, and a prescription dental diet, based on what your pet will tolerate. For additional help, we recommend professional dental cleanings, which we perform under anesthesia to ensure we take the perfect X-rays to find and treat any issues immediately, while also cleaning above and below the gumline to remove all traces of tartar. 

#4: Create environmental enrichment projects to prevent boredom in your pet

Our pets spend the majority of their lives sitting at home, waiting for us to return, which leaves a lot of time for a bored pet to get into mischief. Enrich her life and stimulate her mind by offering toys, long-lasting treats, and puzzle feeders to keep her occupied. Invest in robotic, interactive toys to entertain your pet when you can’t be home, and spend time with her each day exercising, playing, and learning new skills and games. Give cats items that encourage natural behavior, such as scratching posts, climbing towers, and cat trees where they can perch up high and hide. Dogs enjoy human companionship, so consider a dog walker or doggy daycare for those long workdays when your pup is home alone. 

#5: Make diet and exercise plans to prevent obesity in your pet

More than half our nation’s pets are overweight or obese, and it’s a continually growing problem. Keep your pet from packing on the pounds with an appropriate diet and exercise plan that fits her needs. During her wellness visit, we can discuss her correct nutrition and caloric intake, ideal body condition, and the best exercises for helping her maintain a healthy weight.

If this sounds like the comprehensive veterinary care you want, schedule a consultation to see if our Total Wellness for Life Program is right for your pet.