Dr. Ryan Bullock

Over the past 30 years, our pet’s average life expectancy has jumped from 10-11 years to 13-15 years. While advances in veterinary medicine have certainly played an important role in this improvement, education of pet owners has been equally important. Here are 4 things you can do to allow your pet to live as long as possible.

Preventative medicine by your veterinarian: This includes annual exams by your vet to catch ailments early. It also includes having your veterinarian give the recommended vaccinations for viruses such as distemper, parvo, and rabies. Annual testing for common infections such as heartworms and intestinal parasites is also important.

Parasite prevention: It is most important to prevent heartworms, but other parasites such as ticks, fleas, and intestinal worms can spread disease, cause weight loss, decrease immunity, and cause secondary problems such as skin disease and diarrhea. There are many great products available now that prevent almost all of these parasites. Examples are Trifexis, Revolution, and Advantage Multi.

Dental care: Pet’s mouths are a very important part of their body. The mouth is where the digestion process starts and problems with the mouth and teeth can lead to many problems. Infection under the tartar you may see on your pet’s teeth will allow bacteria to enter your pet’s bloodstream and lodge in important areas of the body such as heart valves, kidneys, and the liver. Routine dental cleanings as recommended by your veterinarian are a key component to your pet living a long and high quality life.

Diet: Feeding a consistent, high quality diet and maintaining your pet at a healthy weight are very important. Some of the very inexpensive diets are very high is sugar and lack some essential vitamins and antioxidants. Feeding human food is not a balanced diet for dogs and cats, but more importantly, it many times leads to obesity. Obesity causes a myriad of health problems such as back injuries, worsened arthritis, and ACL knee ligament tears to list a few. Three high quality diets I recommend to clients are Hill’s Science Diet, Eukanuba, and Royal Canin.

If you are already doing all of 4 of these things, then pat yourself on the back! You are an excellent pet owner! Hopefully this simplifies the basics of what you need to do to allow your pet to live the longest and happiest life possible!