As people in the pet care business, we can say, without reservation, that the biggest concern of pet parents is how to maintain the overall health of their pet. There are some diseases that affect pets, particularly as they age, that we have no control over. However, there are a number of other diseases that pet parents CAN prevent. Some of them require a bit more daily effort on the part of pet parents, but if it means a longer, healthier life for our pets, it’s worth it.
PET DISEASES YOU CAN PREVENT
Obesity: You may not have thought of obesity as a disease, but it certainly falls into the category of pet ailments and it is 100% preventable. It’s completely within the control of pet parents to not over-feed their pets with large portions of food, treats or table scraps. Table scraps can add a lot of calories to your pet’s diet and those calories can add up fast! Obesity leads to diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and premature death.
Heartworm: Heartworm is transmitted via mosquitoes and has been found in all 50 states. It is more common among dogs than cats but can be much more dangerous for cats if they contract it and it goes untreated. The best way to protect your pets from Heartworm is to follow the regular treatment prescribed by your vet.
Dental Disease: It can be very easy to neglect the dental care of our pets, but just like it’s essential to our health; it’s essential to theirs too! Keeping your pet’s teeth clean is so very important but not always easy, especially if you’ve not been in the habit of cleaning their teeth. It’s best to start this habit when their puppies and kittens, however, it’s never too late to start a good habit, even if your pet is older. Tartar build up leads to gum disease which can lead to heart and kidney problems in pets and each can be prevented with proper dental care.
Flea & Tick-borne illnesses: Fleas and ticks can cause a host of health problems for your pets. Unfortunately, it can be hard to find these pesky critters before they become a problem for your pets. If you live in a wooded area or often take your pets to the park, always check them for fleas and ticks. Keep your house as clean as possible by vacuuming often and check with your vet regarding flea and tick preventative measures they recommend.
Parvo, Distemper, Rabies: Each of these diseases can be prevented by vaccinating your pets. However, there are times, sadly, when a puppy or kitten may become exposed to one of these diseases before they are old enough for a vaccine. Parvo can be treated if it’s caught early and survivors of Parvo can enjoy a healthy life once they are healed. However, distemper tends to have a higher mortality rate and survivors often have on-going problems as a result. Rabies, though not as common in domesticated pets thanks to vaccines, is still prevalent in some wild animals, so vaccinating your pets is the best way to protect them from this ALWAYS fatal disease.
It’s important for us to remember that pets require the same basic care that we humans do except they are completely dependent on us to provide that care. With just a little extra effort on our part, we can do much to prevent disease in our pets and improve their chances of living a long and healthy life.