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Have you ever heard the expression "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure"?  Well, we truly believe that! At BelaCoop Animal Hospital, we want to make sure you and your pet have the best life together and for as long as possible.  Therefore, we recommend that you read the attached links and understand how you and BelaCoop Animal Hospital can best help your loved one!

Pet Wellness

It's a good reminder to animal lovers everywhere that we're responsible for our pets' health.  In the spirit of wellness, here are 7 things to think about for your dog's health:

1) Schedule an exam.

Has your dog had a complete physical this year? If not, now's a good time to go in. Even healthy dogs need a wellness check to make sure everything is as good as it looks and to identify any early symptoms that may get past an untrained eye. If you have a senior dog, talk to your vet about what you should look out for.

Ideally, dogs get twice-yearly exams - remember, they age faster than we do and therefore need check-ups more often.  Pets age seven times faster on average than people.  Most dogs and cats reach adulthood by age two.  By age four, many pets are entering middle age.  And by age seven most dogs, particularly large breeds, are entering their senior years.  Because dogs and cats age so rapidly, major health changes can occur in a short amount of time. 

The risk of disease increases with age.  Many of these diseases can worsen within a matter of weeks.  Even pets that appear normal can have an underlying problem that may only be detected by your veterinarian.  Because dogs and cats age so rapidly, they should receive a wellness exam twice a year which will help diagnose, treat or prevent health problems before they become life-threatening.  It also provides an oppotunity to discuss nutrition, behavior and other concerns with your veterinarian. 

Cats also tend to hide illness better than dogs and many times owners may not realize there is a problem.  Behavioral changes can be early signs or subtle changes in appetite or elimination may be noted.  In addition to bringing your pet in for wellness exams, pay close attention to changes in your pets' weight, food and water consumption, elimination, grooming and other behavior.  Your ability to perceive and respond to subltle changes can make a big differnece in the life and health of your pet


2) Don't forget immunizations.

There are the standards, like rabies, distemper, and parvo, but each area and dog has specific needs. Does your dog spend time in boarding, doggie daycare, or at the dog park? Bordatella is a good idea. Live near a wooded area? Your vet may recommend the Lyme disease vaccine. Don't be afraid to ask your vet about any vaccines you're not familiar with. If you're unsure about annual vaccines, talk to your vet about titers, which test your dog for antibodies, to determine if he/she has enough protection or needs a booster.

 3) Learn how to brush dogs teeth.

Doggie dental problems often lead to other health issues, such as heart, kidney, and liver problems. Those are very serious conditions, so it's worth taking the time to brush your dog's teeth. It prevents a lot more than just bad breath.

4) Have your dog spayed or neutered.

If your dog isn't already, you're missing out on major health benefits. According to the ASPCA, unspayed females have a much higher chance of getting uterine infections and breast cancer, which causes death in about 50% of the dogs it affects. The ASPCA also recommends neutering males before they reach 6 months old for protection against testicular cancer.

5) Get prepared.

Put together an emergency plan to keep your dog safe in case of an emergency, like an evacuation or natural disaster. Include a safe dog-friendly place to go, a list of any items you need for your dog including medications, and emergency numbers like the vet.

6) Examine your dog's food label.

Wellness starts with what you put in your body, so take a critical look at what you're putting in your dog's body. Not all dog foods are created equal. If you see protein "meal" (like chicken meal), corn, or by-products, rethink your dog's food. Those are cheap fillers that don't provide your dog any nutrition.

 7) Start supplements.

Supplements provide additional nutrition to your dog, either to supplement the diet or to really focus on a specific condition. Supplements include fish oil, that acts as an anti-inflammatory and aid for allergies, as well as to support joint health or glucosamine and chondroitin that also helps with joint health. Talk to your vet about what your dog needs, if any, and proper dosages.

Your dog needs you to watch his health all year long, not just when he's sick. Recognizing Pet Wellness is a good reminder to be a good advocate for your dog's health. Which of these 7 ideas will you be using?

Information provided by: Fort Dodge Animal Health