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October 4, 2012

Groups Offer Tips for National Pet Wellness Month

Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association

kitten at the vet

October is National Pet Wellness Month and the Humane Society Veterinary Medical Association and The Humane Society of the United States are reminding pet owners that preventative care is the easiest way to help pets live longer and healthier lives. National Pet Wellness Month is a nationwide educational campaign sponsored by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and Fort Dodge Animal Health.

“Yearly visits to your veterinarian are an essential part of keeping your pet healthy,” says Dr. Barry Kellogg, VMD, senior veterinary advisor for HSVMA. “Preventative care allows for early detection of problems and often saves money on overall veterinary costs by treating problems before they become serious.”

Having trouble affording veterinary care? Here's help »

Dr. Kellogg offers pet owners the following tips to properly care for their furry family members throughout the year:

  • Annual Exams: Pets should visit the veterinarian at least once a year. Annual exams are a great opportunity to check on the overall health and well-being of your pet and allow you to make any necessary changes in your pet’s daily routine and care. A review of the vaccination status and program most appropriate for your pet should also be completed at this time.

  • Spay/Neuter: It is incredibly important to have your pet spayed or neutered. Not only do the procedures prevent individual medical problems such as mammary and testicular tumors and uterine infections, spaying or neutering also helps curb pet overpopulation and reduces the number of unwanted pets who are euthanized every day. Spay and neuter surgeries can be safely performed as early as 8-12 weeks of age.

You can afford to have your pet spayed or neutered »

  • Weight Management: Obesity is a real and newly recognized problem for pets. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats were classified as overweight or obese by their veterinarians. Prevention is much easier to accomplish than treatment, so consult your veterinarian about the right diet and exercise regimen for your pet.

  • A Balanced Diet: Commercial dog and cat foods make it easy to provide a nutritionally balanced and complete diet. Dog and cat foods contain all of the different nutrients your animal needs in the appropriate quantities. Remember it can be very difficult to create a balanced and complete diet from “people” foods.

  • Dental Care: Teeth and oral health are extremely important when caring for your pet and should be evaluated annually. If you are fortunate to have an animal who will tolerate frequent brushing, you are already one step ahead. Unchecked, dental disease can lead to kidney problems or nutritional issues if your pet cannot adequately chew and digest their food. 

  • Senior Pets: As animals age, their dietary requirements and their ability to digest certain foods changes. When pets grow older, they lose some ability to concentrate urine so they need to produce more, and therefore need more water intake. You can help by feeding your pets better quality proteins and avoiding red meats like beef and beef by-products. Doing this will decrease the work load on the kidneys and help prevent diseases and health issues from developing.

Media Contact: Nicole Ianni, 301-548-7793, nianni@humanesociety.org

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