Black male cat show interest at photo cameraApproaching one’s health from a holistic or full spectrum perspective is something most of us embrace. But, did you know this same prevention-based approach is just as important when it comes to pet health?

Like the decisions we make each day for our own wellbeing, the choices we make for our pets can contribute to (or diminish) energy levels, immunity, and so many other factors important to lifelong wellness.

Five Ways Pet Owners Can Encourage Pet Health

So, what are some of the basic building blocks of quality of life and complete health for your animal companion?

The good news is that they are within the power of any concerned pet owner AND are instrumental in disease prevention.

  1. Keep your pet at a healthy weight – You are what you eat, as the saying goes, and a well-balanced diet can go a long way in enhancing your pet’s health. One of the biggest contributors to diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure is obesity. Feeding your pet the correct portion size (no seconds!), keeping him or her moving through daily exercise, and avoiding rich and potentially harmful people foods reduces the risk.
  2. Spay or neuter your pet – One of the most basic ways you can increase your pet’s lifespan is through spay/neuter surgery. Altered pets are less likely to roam, which can result in accidents and lost pet companions, and have a decreased chance of developing breast and testicular cancers. Since pets in estrus are often under stress (because they physiologically are compelled to seek out a mate), behavioral problems, such as marking and aggression, can also be averted through spaying/neutering. And, that contributes to better emotional well being!
  3. Follow through on annual veterinary examinations – No matter what stellar daily care choices you make as a pet owner, some conditions lurk under the skin and present no symptoms. That is where yearly physicals, including bloodwork and other diagnostics, are crucial in early detection. Your veterinarian can also empower you to make the right choices for your pet based on his or her current medical status.
  4. Vaccinate your pet and keep them parasite-free – Vaccinations tend to get a bad rap, oftentimes due to misinformation. But, annual (or as-needed) vaccines protect your pet from serious, sometimes fatal diseases and remain your pet’s first line of defense against many illnesses. They also play a key role in preventing contagious illnesses from spreading and harming many more animals. Parasite-borne diseases can also wreak havoc on pet health (some, like heartworm, are life-threatening). So, keep your pet on a year-round preventive.
  5. Practice impeccable pet dental hygiene – Dental disease is a major contributor to secondary health conditions that impact your pet’s heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver. Periodontal disease is sadly one of the most common problems for pets over the age of 3. To keep your pet’s health top of mind, top off that toothbrush with some pet formulated paste and follow up with cleanings as needed, which can be safely performed right here at Napervile Animal Hospital.

2016 is a great year for making the most of your pet’s veterinary and at-home care plan. Keep your four-legged friend at his or her best by focusing on these five pillars of awesome pet health.