You want to take good care of your pet. Here are some important things that you can do that will improve the quality of your pet’s life and increase the likelihood that you will grow old gracefully together!

1. First and foremost, 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!

2. 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. Make an appointment today to discuss the lifestyle of your pet and determine what vaccines would be appropriate.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

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 periodontal disease. Time and again we see significant liver, heart, 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. Keep your pet comfortable and increase their quality of life by providing adequate pain control. Many health conditions such as arthritis, dental problems such as inflamed gums, fractured crowns or abscessed teeth, urinary tract disease, ear infections and many more ailments can cause significant discomfort. Often, pets mask their discomfort, and since they don’t communicate by telling us “it hurts,” we must be vigilant in watching for these conditions. Today, we have medications and treatments, such as therapy laser, which can significantly help your pet be more comfortable. It is a simple act of care and kindness to provide these options for our pets.

8. Invest in pet insurance. Having a pet is a joy and brings love and happiness into our lives, but is also a responsibility. You are responsible for not only loving, feeding and sheltering your pet but also taking care of their health and medical needs. Sometimes accidents or major medical issues can occur and significant financial costs can arise. Pet insurance is a great way to help diffuse these unexpected costs and unburden your finances, so you can focus on your pet and not your wallet.

9. Make behavioral and obedience training a priority. Again, having a pet is a responsibility, and nothing strengthens the animal human bond more than a well-trained pet/owner. Pet owners need to actively be involved in training their pet; 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! Jennifer Skaggs is our Certified Professional Dog Trainer who offers private affordable house calls to help you and your dog adjust to each other’s needs and teach techniques that develop positive behaviors. She also helps your dog learn the basics that all dog owners appreciate. Give Jennifer a call at (719) 338-7593 to see how she can help.

10. Provide activity and enrichment. Enrich your pet’s life with toys and other mind and body stimulating activities. Daily activity can include walks, hikes, swims, and play time. Dogs naturally enjoy exploring, sniffing (hunting), and wrestling with other dogs. Cats as predators also enjoy hunting. Many toys and other enrichment tools are available on the market today. This helps with keeping your pet in shape and keeping their mind engaged!