Maximize Your Pet's Lifespan

We all want our pets to live forever, but many times they leave us far too early. Here are some tips you can use to keep your pets healthy longer.

1. Feed them a species-appropriate, meat-based diet made by a reputable company. Avoid the highly processed foods made with poor ingredients made from rendered animals and low quality fillers.

2. Maintain a proper weight. Obesity studies have shown 52.7% of dogs and 57.9% of cats in America are overweight or obese. Obesity leads to arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiac, respiratory, and kidney disease, cancer, orthopedic diseases, and decreases life expectancy up to 2.5 years.

3. Maintain good dental health. Most dogs and cats have periodontal disease by age 3, according to the American Veterinary Dental Society. Complications from periodontal disease can include heart, liver, and kidney disease. Tooth loss, fractured jaws, and painful infections are the result of poor dental care. Daily brushing is the best defense against periodontal disease, but raw meaty bones are also great for maintaining good dental health.

4. Provide your pets with daily exercise. Indoor cats can be taught to fetch or play with laser lights. Dogs can be walked outside or given a yard to run. Many dog owners have taught their dogs to walk on treadmills in inclement weather and there are many indoor pools, gyms, and physical therapy facilities that offer exercise space.

5. Don't forget preventive wellness care. A thorough physical examination by your veterinarian twice a year can help detect problems before they become advanced. I recommend running a routine blood panel to check liver and kidney function, as well as a urinalysis, fecal exam, and heartworm test. Do NOT allow your pet to be vaccinated every year. Vaccine titers should be run, instead, to determine whether vaccination is actually needed. Most vaccines last 5 to 7 years and may last a lifetime. Rabies vaccines usually need to be given as required by law, unless your pet qualifies for an exemption. Ask your veterinarian about this.

6. Avoid chemicals. Do not use pesticides on your animals. Do not feed pesticides to your animals. Do not spray your yard with pesticides and herbicides. Use natural alternatives for flea and tick control.

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