Try this fountain of youth for your pet
The secret to helping your dog or cat live longer is really a lot easier than you might think, a leading veterinarian says.
Many pet owners use special diets, vitamins and supplements that promise to bring longevity, but your pet's chances of living a long, full life have a lot more to do with what you don't do than what you do, according to Dr. Jan Bellows, a diplomat of the American Veterinary Dental College and the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners.
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Many pet parents fail to use products to control disease-carrying insects - such as fleas, mosquitoes and ticks - or fail to keep a pet's teeth clean, which in many cases can cause a pet's premature death from an easily preventable illness, Dr. Bellows says.
"Preventative care can be a lifesaver for most pets," Dr. Bellows states in a media release. "General, specialty and emergency veterinary clinics see cases brought in that could have been easily prevented."
Preventing disease associated with dental problems and insects - as well as making sure a quality diet and regular exercise - are just as important as medicine or even emergency care for helping pets lead long, healthy lives, Dr. Bellows states.
According to Dr. Bellows, who specializes in the treatment of small animals at a clinic in Weston, Florida, the six leading problems that are easily preventable involve dental disease, heartworm and tick-borne disease, obesity, obstructions and vaccinations.
Oral disease and gingivitis can lead to bad breath as well as tooth decay and loss. Also, bacteria from the diseased teeth can spread throughout the bloodstream and damage organs like the heart and kidneys, especially in an older dog. Regular care of a dog's teeth will prevent all kinds of dental disease.
All tick-borne diseases come from a tick attaching itself to a dog and spreading a disease through its saliva. The diseases can cause lameness, lethargy, sickness, and as they advance: neurological problems, kidney disease, and bleeding disorders.By simply applying a monthly flea-and-tick control product and regularly inspecting your dog for ticks, these diseases can be prevented.
Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes. Once a dog is infected, if it is not on heartworm medication, the worms will begin to grow and find their way into the dog's heart. They will multiply and develop, blocking the heart, changing the blood flow and destroying the organ. Treatment is expensive and dangerous, especially if the case is advanced, and some dogs die from it.Prevention of heartworms is simple. Monthly preventive medication stops any heartworms from developing.
The most common culprits are diet and lack of exercise. Low-value dog foods that are high in carbohydrates and grains, table scraps and too many treats help to pack on the pounds. Dogs also are leading more sedentary lifestyles. They need daily exercise for weight maintenance and overall well-being. Many behavioral issues stem from a lack of exercise. Feeding a high-quality dog food coupled with daily walks and exercise appropriate to your dog helps to prevent a myriad or problems like diabetes, joint pain, and stress on the heart and other organs.
Swallowing objects and obstruction
Obstructions occur when a dog has ingested items such as socks, cardboard, towels, clothing and stuffing out of toys. These items become lodged in the dog's intestines, and it quickly becomes an emergency situation requiring surgery. Never leave items lying on the floor and give your dog appropriate chew toys.
Dogs should begin receiving shots at age 8 weeks old and continue through 20 weeks of age.This initial shot schedule provides protection from a number of diseases that can be life-threatening, like Parvo. Vaccinations should be boosted every year or as recommended by your veterinarian.
Never leave your dog without being vaccinated. Doing so greatly increases his chances of catching a highly contagious, deadly illness, like Parvo. A dog will quickly become sick after exposure. Treatment for Parvo is expensive and often unsuccessful.