Top 3 Issues That Your Vet Wants You to Know More About
Merritt Milam | July 1, 2021
As much as we love our pets, there are some important health issues we tend to overlook or kick down the road until it becomes a “must-do” responsibility. Here are three topics your vet wants you to know about and address – sooner rather than later.
Often the last thing many pet parents address is their pet’s teeth. Dental cleaning is a must for your pet’s health. Since pets can’t brush their own teeth, they need our help. While daily brushing is ideal, weekly brushing supplemented with a dental treat or water additive will help reduce or slow tartar buildup. Your vet should be examining your pet’s teeth during their annual check-up visit. An annual cleaning by your vet is recommended.
A pet’s dental health is linked to their overall health. In fact, dental disease affects approximately 80% of dogs (Source: Packaged Facts: “Pet Oral Care Services and Products in the U.S.” 3rd Edition, 2018.). If dental hygiene is neglected, pets can develop serious periodontal disease, ultimately leading to tooth decay, as well as kidney, liver, and heart muscle changes.
Weight problems in pets is usually not a major concern for most pet parents. “There’s just more to love”, we like to tell ourselves. Obesity in our pets can lead to arthritis, joint pain and damage, high blood pressure, breathing problems, diabetes, and tumors. Our pet’s quantity and quality of life is ultimately affected.
Here are a few ways you can help your pet avoid debilitating conditions and maintain a healthy weight.
- Ask your vet for a diet plan appropriate for their age and condition.
- Set specific feeding times and don’t leave food out all day.
- Schedule regular exercise or activity. Neighborhood walks and park playtime are wonderful options. A weekly visit to Wags Day Care is a great way to provide regular activity. (For more information visit our Day Care website.)
- Provide a fun interactive treat toy to their playtime routine.
- Sign your pet up for a training class. They’ll learn important life skills and get a healthy dose of structured exercise.
By now, most pet parents are very aware of the need for spaying or neutering pets. While spaying/neutering helps avoid an increase in pet populations, these procedures also offer additional health benefits (e.g., reducing the incidence of some of the most common types of cancers and offering pets a longer lifespan).
So, is a vasectomy just as beneficial as neutering?
Male pets can get a vasectomy, but vets rarely perform the procedure. Unlike neutering, a vasectomy keeps the testes intact. This means they continue to produce testosterone. Pets who undergo a vasectomy maintain their male behavior – most notably seeking females and aggression. The prostate will also continue to grow, almost always causing a range of problems from benign prostatic hyperplasia to cancer, which is usually malignant and often already spread upon diagnosis.
If your pet is going to interact with other pets, especially females, neutering is recommended. As with any medical procedure, consult your vet.
As much as we love our pets, sometimes we overlook the obvious things that can make an important, positive impact on our pet’s health and happiness. With just a little effort, helping pets stay healthy is a responsibility all pet parents will find rewarding.