As a pet owner, your furry friend's well-being is your responsibility. You know you should take your pet to the vet for a checkup once a year, but health isn't built on annual checkups alone. Here are four habits that can greatly impact your pet's health for the better:
1. Clean your pet's teeth.
Cleaning your pet's teeth can improve their breath and overall oral health. You can find toothpaste formulated specifically for pets; it's non-toxic, so it won't hurt your furry friend if they swallow it. Get in the habit of brushing your pet's teeth once a day. This will reduce plaque and tartar, which can lead to painful tooth decay.
If your pet won't let you brush your teeth, you may need to take them to the vet for a professional cleaning. According to the American Veterinary Dental College, during a professional cleaning, your dog will be unconscious, thanks to general anesthesia. This will allow the vet to scale the calcified deposits from their teeth and clean beneath their gum line in order to prevent or treat gum disease.
2. Trim your pet's nails.
In the wild, animals run over rough terrain, which grinds their nails down naturally. Your pet spends most of their time indoors, which means you'll have to trim their nails. Untrimmed nails can grow too long and become ingrown. They can also become damaged, leading to infections that will need to be treated with antibiotics. Prevent this by trimming your pet's nails at least twice a month. Trim only the clear part of your pet's nails, since the opaque quick contains nerve endings and blood.
3. Groom your pet's fur.
Some pets do a better job at keeping their fur clean than others. Cats, for example, do a great job at grooming themselves. However, no matter what species your pet is, it can still benefit from regular grooming. Brush your pet daily to keep their fur tangle-free. This is especially important for pets with long fur. Bathe your pet once a week to keep their coat smelling fresh and looking as shiny as possible.
4. Treat your pet for fleas.
If you live in an area with fleas and ticks, preventative treatment can keep your pet from becoming infested. Your veterinarian can recommend a treatment to protect your pet from pests. If they've already become infested with fleas, your vet can prescribe a treatment, either in oral or topical form.
Contact the veterinarians at a clinic like Spring Hill Veterinary Clinic for more information on taking care of your pet's health.