Dr. John Sudduth, D.V.M.
Northwest Animal Hospital and Pet Care Center
Colorado Springs, Colorado
You want to take good care of your pet. Here are some important facts that will improve the quality of your pet's life and increase the likelihood that you will grow old gracefully together!
1. Feed a high quality food that is appropriate for the life stage of your pet. Keep in mind that there is a tremendous variability in the quality of nutrients found in pet foods available today. The best diet which will make a difference depends on the unique health and risk factors of your pet. Clerks at superstores or the Internet may not be the best source of information. Ask us to recommend an optimum diet choice for your pet.
2. Follow a monthly year round parasite control plan for both dogs and cats whether indoor, outdoor, or both which protects your pet (and consequently you!) against internal and external parasites including heartworm. The statistics are in: 20% of both indoor and outdoor pets (that's 1 in 5) harbor parasites in Colorado. The preventive medications are cheap and effective. Protect your pet and your family from unnecessary exposure.
3. Keep your pet up to date on all necessary vaccinations. Nothing is sadder than to watch a pet succumb to illness which could have been easily prevented by the timely administration of vaccines. Some diseases like leptospirosis and rabies can cause significant illness and/or certain death in humans as well. That is not so say, however, that your pet needs every vaccine available on the market today. In concert with recognized expert, our doctors have determined which vaccines are needed and at what intervals.
4. Ensure that your pet has proper identification in the form of pet tags and a microchip. Did you know that getting lost ranks as one of the most common causes of death in our pets? Pet tags combined with a microchip, substantially increases the chance that your family will be reunited with their pet. What would you do if your pet got lost? Contact us today for a safe, secure solution.
5. Have your pet examined annually (ages 1 - 7; semi-annually ages 8 and above) by our doctors to address early and sometimes undetected signs of illness. A blood profile and urinalysis along with other necessary testing allows early detection of developing problems. Our pets cannot talk and tell us verbally about health problems. As a responsible owner you need to be their advocate!
6. Schedule your pet for dental care at least once a year. Some breeds need a dental cleaning and assessment more often to avoid the relentless progression of peridontal disease. Time and again we see significant liver, kidney and urinary system illness from neglected dental problems. Periodontal disease is the most common illness of man and animals and has a disastrous effect both on quality of life as well as longevity. You will be doing your pet the biggest favor by providing regular dental care and you should think of regular dental care in your pet as part of the necessary essentials along with food, water and shelter.
7.Keeping your pet comfortable and increasing their quality of life by providing adequate pain control. Many health conditions such as arthritis, dental problems such as inflamed gums or broken abcessed teeth, urinary tract disease, ear infections and many more can cause significant discomfort. Often times pets mask their discomfort and since they don't communicate by telling us "it hurts", we must be vigilant in watching for those conditions. Today we have available to us medications and treatments which can significantly help your pet be more comfortable and it is a simple act of care and kindness to provide those options for our pets.
8. Provide regular grooming, ear, skin and coat care. One of the more common causes for pet owners to present their pet to the veterinarian, these health issues can largely be addressed by regular grooming care. Our groomers can also help spot early health issues which the veterinarian needs to address. In our experience pets that are regularly professionally groomed enjoy a much higher quality of life. Contact Carrie and Dawn at Northwest Animal Hospital - 593-8582. They have been our groomers for over 10 years!
9. Continually work on behavioral and obedience training. To effectively train and consequently enjoy your pet more, pet owners need to actively be involved in training their pet regularly. Professional input from trainers helps. In a survey of pet owners, those owners that were actively engaged in training programs with their pet reported a much greater enjoyment with their pet than those which did not. Reduce your angst! Train your pet!
10. Providing for your pet after you are gone. A topic of great interest among pet owners is what happens if I am no longer able through illness, divorce, death, etc., to care for my pet? If owners don't discuss this and develop a thoughtful plan, disastrous things can happen!