Pet ownership comes with both positive and negative aspects. On one hand, we love their little personalities and the happiness they bring us. On the other hand, no one likes cleaning up pet poop or paying for large vet bills. It’s important to be a responsible pet owner, so we asked Dr Cherlene Lee, veterinarian and owner of Sydney’s My Vet Animal Hospital, for some simple, practical tips to keep your pet in purr-fect condition. This is her advice.
1. Keep their vaccinations up to date
Set reminders in your calendar so you know when your pets’ next vaccination is due, They are essential for protecting against nasty and deadly diseases such as parvovirus and kennel cough in dogs, and Feline Panleukopaenia, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (also known as feline AIDS) and FeLV (Feline Leukaemia Virus) in cats.
2. They are what they eat
A complete and balanced diet that provides all the nutrients your pet needs is the best way to keep them healthy. This can be easily done by choosing a pet food that meets the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) standards and passes the AAFCO feeding trial tests. Try to stick to feeding your pet with about 90% good quality dry food and 10% treats such as cooked chicken breast, and you should have a fur-baby with good teeth, good weight, and good poop!
3. Eliminate pests
Ensure your pet is wormed and protected from fleas. It will help keep your pets – and even you, as some worms in pets can be transferred to their human owners – in top shape. A lot of dog owners get confused by heartworm and intestinal worms. Intestinal worms are mainly transmitted through ingesting infected faeces, heartworm is transmitted via mosquitoes. Since these two are completely different, you will need to worm your dog for both. For cat owners, a combination of spot-ons and worming tablets will ensure your kitty cat is fully protected from tummy worms and fleas.
4. Treat any toilet troubles
This may sound gross, but you should know what your pet’s pee and poo look like. Make a mental note on how often they are doing numbers one and two. Any changes in the shape, colour or consistency could be an early indicator of something more serious. If your pet has diarrhea it’s best to bring them to the vet immediately as they can lose a lot of water and get very sick, very quickly. For example, diseases like Haemorrhagic Gastroenteritis can be very aggressive in
5.Do a DIY health check
We may often feel like our pets can communicate with us and let us know exactly how they are feeling, but unfortunately we can’t understand what every ‘woof’ or ‘meow’ means. So, you should always try to pick up signs of illness early. For example, I bathe my dog and cat every two weeks and use that time to run a quick health check on them at home. Things you should be aware of include:
- Teeth – any gingivitis, tartar/plaque build up
- Eyes – any abnormalities including cloudiness
- Ears – any discharge or foul smell
- Skin – any redness/pimple like lesions including any lumps or bumps
- Weight check
- Energy levels or change in behaviour, e.g. lethargy, inappetence
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