Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Top 5 Preventable Pet Ailments

By Linda Cole

As pet owners, we try to ward off potential health problems before they become serious by knowing symptoms to watch out for and paying attention to how a pet acts. When a dog or cat isn't acting like their normal self, we know something is wrong. We can't prevent some diseases from happening, but there are five common pet ailments we can control that can affect our pets' health and shorten their lives.

Dental Disease - Taking care of our pets teeth is just as important as our good dental hygiene. Bad teeth can affect the heart, kidney and liver, and has been linked to some types of cancer. Anytime infection is present in the body, there's always a risk it can spread to other parts of the body via the bloodstream. Infection in the teeth and gums is painful, which makes it hard for a pet to eat. Mouth pain can also be a contributing factor in a pet's bad behavior or aggression.

The best way to prevent dental disease is with regular brushing, vet exams and cleaning the teeth by a vet, when necessary. Brushing your pet's teeth may be a bit of a hassle in the beginning, but with patience and practice, a few minutes of your time spent brushing a pet’s teeth can help prolong their life.

Trauma/injuries - Accidents happen, and you can't always control a particular situation. However, you can take a look around your pet's environment to make sure it's dog or cat proofed to help eliminate preventable injuries. Electrical and window blind cords, loose fencing around an outside enclosure, or debris lying around in a yard can all injure a pet. A loose window screen that pops out while your cat is sitting in an opened window can pose a danger, especially if the window is high off the ground.

Dogs can get pulled muscles, sprain an ankle, and even break a leg racing around the yard playing and jumping. Most soft tissue injuries and trauma can be prevented by keeping a dog on leash when not in a secured enclosure and not letting your dog get overly excited during playtime. Bites from other animals or snakes, falls off steep banks or being hit by a car are dangers for both dogs and outside cats. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of injuries.

Upset tummy - We can't always control what our pets pick up and eat, especially when they're outside unsupervised. Dogs and cats are masters at begging, but most of our food isn't healthy for pets to eat and some food, like chocolate, grapes, onions, walnuts and raisins, can kill them. Fatty scraps of meat can cause pancreatitis in dogs and too much tuna for cats can turn them into “tuna junkies” and cause a painful condition called Yellow Fat Disease. To prevent GI problems, stick with your CANIDAE dog food and FELIDAE cat food. It has everything they need to stay healthy.

Heartworm - This is one of the most preventable ailments in dogs and cats. Heartworm is fatal if it's not treated by a vet. A dog infected with this parasite can be treated, but it's hard to get a handle on and can be very expensive to cure. At one time, it was believed dogs living in colder climates didn't need to be treated during the winter months. However, it's now recommended to treat your pet year round because the disease is on the move and spreading. Cats can also develop heartworm, and it's not something you can treat in felines. Protect cats and dogs with monthly treatments of heartworm medication. Even cats that live indoors are at risk and should be given monthly medication.

Diabetes - As pet owners, the one thing we can control is our pet's diet, which is a big factor in preventing diabetes. Obesity is the main culprit that contributes to diabetes. Feeding a premium quality pet food like CANIDAE and FELIDAE can help keep your pet at their proper weight. Diabetes is a time consuming and costly disease to manage; it can be very debilitating and life-threatening. Daily exercise, along with a proper diet, is your best weapon to prevent diabetes.

We can't foresee everything that could happen to our pets. But preventable diseases and conditions can be eliminated if we just take a little extra time to make sure our pets eat a healthy diet, get plenty of exercise and receive proper dental care. The old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” really is true.

Photo by carterse

Read more articles by Linda Cole

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