VCA Animal Hospitals

4 ways to extend the life of your pet

Published: Jan 30, 2013

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One of the downsides of pet ownership is that dogs and cats have much shorter life spans than their human companions. Pet loss is inevitable, but there are certain ways you can help your pets live long, healthy lives. Here are a four measures you can take that could very well extend the life of the canine or feline members of your family.

1. Regular checkups at the vet
You may think you only need to take your dog to the vet when he's showing signs of pain in dogs or other illnesses, but the reality is that all animals should be brought into one of your nearby vet clinics for checkups at least twice a year. Not all animal illnesses carry visible clinical signs, and cats or dogs can sometimes be very stoic rather than show you that they're not feeling well. A vet may be able to detect a pet health problem that you missed, either by analyzing blood or urine samples or simply by using his or her professional eye to look over the animal. If the vet does spot a medical issue, he or she will be able to prescribe medicine to help fight off the illness.

2. Plenty of exercise
For most pet owners, it's fairly easy to regulate their dog's or cat's diet. However, diet alone won't help prevent obesity in dogs or cats. Exercise is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle for both humans and animals, so make sure your pet is moving around every single day. Dogs and cats like to take long naps, but it's your responsibility to make sure these are punctuated by walks around the block (for dogs), time outside (for cats) or active play in the house (for both).

3. Keep up on cat and dog vaccinations
In addition to scheduling regular trips to the vet for a checkup, ensure that the animals in your home are up to date on all of their vaccinations. While some vaccinations last for a lifetime, others must be updated regularly, and failing to do so could put your pet's life in danger. It may be best to ask your vet to schedule appointments in advance, so you won't forget when it's time to bring your pet in for a booster.

4. Reduce stress and anxiety
Your pets may seem like they're happy all the time, but dogs and cats can both suffer from stress and anxiety. Animals are creatures of routine, so if possible, establish a normal daily schedule for your dog or cat, and stick to it as much as possible. Big life changes, such as a move, can be very anxiety-inducing for pets, so you may want to hold off on adopting a cat or dog until you know you are going to have a steady lifestyle. Of course, there will be times when you have to make changes to your daily living routines, but providing your pets with reliability and consistency can help them stay healthier, and perhaps live longer lives.

 

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