Taking a Proactive Approach to Preventive Health Care for Dogs

Owning a pet is a rewarding experience that brings many health benefits to people. They provide their owners with unconditional love and increase opportunities to get outside, exercise and socialize. In return, it is the job of the pet parents to take proper care of their furry friends in order for them to live a longer, happier and healthier life.

One way to achieve this is to put your pet on a preventive care schedule to make sure they stay well and healthy. In fact, AAHA and AVMA have paired to come up with preventive healthcare guidelines to ensure every pet's wellbeing and improve their quality of life. This especially comes in handy in the early detection of canine diseases that may progress quickly if left untreated.

So, in addition to providing your dog with love and affection, you must complete a few thorough checkups to ensure their health. The following is a list of the most important things you must do to take a proactive approach to preventive health care for your furry friend.

Annual checkups

Visiting your vet at least once a year should be at the top of your list in ensuring your pet's wellbeing.

For example, young pups need veterinary examinations more often until they are a few months old. During these checkups, your vet will tell you how your puppy is developing as well as what types of vaccines they need to get. Make sure you also mention any concerns about your dog's overall physical or mental health in order to prevent potential medical issues.

The thing with these wellness checkups is that they may be costly, so you should obtain a pet insurance plan to save up on vet bills. There are reputable insurance marketplaces with various pet insurance providers you can choose from according to your pet's conditions, like Pets Best that is among the most popular choices of pet insurance companies. If you're still unsure about what your pet exactly needs, you should do thorough research and learn everything you need to know about Pets Best to see if it suits your pet's needs.

Proper nutrition and exercise

Another preventive measure in ensuring your dog's health is providing them with proper nutrition and exercise. Generally speaking, any pet's overall health mostly depends on the type of food they're eating and how much exercise they are getting. So, if you feed your pup low-quality dog food and don't get them moving more, it can lead to negative consequences on their physical, emotional and mental wellbeing.

According to veterinarians, in addition to high-quality kibble, any pet's well-balanced diet should include protein, carbs, fruits and veggies to receive all vitamins and minerals necessary for their health. For example, proteins are a great source of energy and are highly rich in amino acids essential for general body maintenance.

As for exercise, it is recommended that you take your dog out at least twice a day and engage them in various physical activities such as running or playing fetch in order to build their strength and muscles.

Parasite prevention

All pets, especially dogs, should be on year-round parasite control for fleas, ticks, intestinal worms and heartworms. These tiny bugs spread serious and in some cases even fatal diseases that may also affect people. For that reason, taking preventive measures will not only protect your pet's health but also your entire family's.

For example, no matter if your dog spends most of the time outdoors or inside the house, they can't escape the potential attack from fleas and ticks. These irritating insects cause discomfort which may lead to serious health issues if they are left untreated. So, if you see your dog itching a lot, then you must visit your vet immediately so they can give you a treatment plan for your pet.

Another common parasite issue are heartworms. Dogs usually get them from the bite of an infected mosquito causing inflammation of the blood vessels which may even result in heart damage or early death.

Dental care

Dental checkups are also part of every preventive care plan for pets. In fact, it is estimated that about 70% of animals will develop some kind of dental disease by the age of three. So, in order to prevent this from happening, you must pay special attention to your furry friend's oral health.

The tricky thing with dental diseases is that they develop gradually so sometimes pets live with oral pain or inflammation without showing any signs of being uncomfortable. However, as soon as an oral issue advances, your dog will most likely show symptoms such as bleeding gums, loose teeth, bad breath, difficulty picking up food and even nasal discharge.

Besides doing annual dental examinations, there are various measures you can take to maintain your dog's oral health. For example, you should clean your pet's teeth every day using a pet toothpaste and toothbrush or by giving them safe rubbery toys to chew on.

Spraying and neutering

Spraying and neutering are permanent surgical procedures that involve the removal of an animal's reproductive organs. These surgeries usually happen when pet parents want to avoid accidental pregnancies or because their pet is suffering from a life-threatening medical condition affecting their reproductive system.

For example, neutering a male dog at an early stage can prevent potential prostate diseases and even decrease aggressive behaviors in pets. Usually, neutered dogs are much calmer and less likely to attack other animals or people. As for female dogs, spraying ends the heat cycle which occurs twice a year and may also cause unwanted behavioral changes.

Whatever the case may be, your vet usually does complete examinations to recommend the best timing and treatment plan for your pet. While these surgical procedures can be dangerous, the overall benefits from performing them actually outweigh the risks for most pets.

Final thoughts

Generally speaking, owning a pet makes people's lives better, happier and fulfilled with unconditional love and companionship. And in return for their endless support, pet owners must take proper care of them by obtaining a preventive health plan. This way they will be able to keep track of their pet's overall physical and mental fitness and in most cases even prevent severe medical issues. So, if you are looking for ways to ensure your best friend's wellbeing, remember to consider these preventive measures and improve their overall quality of life.

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