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5 Simple Rules for Giving Your Pet a Healthy Life

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1. Schedule Annual Checkups

"Dogs and cats age much faster than us, so missing even one yearly appointment could be like you not visiting your doctor for over 5 years," says Ashley Gallagher, DVM at Friendship Hospital for Animals in Washington, D.C. "Annual checkups also allow your vet to more easily spot problems at their earliest stages, when they can often be handled simply and cost effectively."

2. Establish a Grooming Routine

Grooming is not just about maintaining your pet’s level of cleanliness, and it is not just about keeping your pet "good-looking." Grooming is also about maintaining their physical health. Hair brushing, ear cleaning, and nail trimming are all important things you should add to your pet's regular grooming regimen. Even cats, despite their ability to self-groom, will occasionally need assistance. Got questions? Consult your veterinarian.

3. Practice Good Oral Hygiene

"Dental disease is a common problem in our pets and can lead to a variety of health issues," says Dr. Gallagher. "It is estimated that 80% of dogs and 70% of cats over the age of 3 years suffer from some degree of periodontal disease, an inflammation of some or all of a tooth's deep supporting structures." This can lead to gingivitis, bad breath and a host of other dental issues. Avoid these problems by brushing your pet's teeth, scheduling regular dental checkups, and using dental diets and treats.

4. Exercise and Play Regularly

Big or small, young or old, our pets need to exercise daily. Without physical activity, your dog or cat will become bored, frustrated and even unhealthy — leading to issues such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Consult a veterinarian to devise the safest routine for your dog or cat, especially with senior or overweight pets. “Unless a veterinarian has told you otherwise,” says Susan O’Bell, DVM at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, “pet owners shouldn’t underestimate the power of briskly paced walks throughout the day.” Additional forms of daily activity can include swimming, a game of fetch or chase the toy mouse and mental exercise such as food puzzles.

5. Buy Quality Pet Food

"What you feed your pet has a tremendous impact on their health," says Dr. Gallagher. "Choose quality pet food and avoid issues with obesity — an epidemic problem among pets — by feeding your dog or cat the right amount." Not sure which pet food is the best or what is the right amount? Consult your veterinarian to choose a high quality, complete and balanced food that meets your pet's specific life stage and health needs.

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  • Dry skin, Entropion
    01/24/2015 09:16am

    I have no idea how old my cat is. He eat Friskies seafood sensationals and he also get some wet food in the mornings only. We have dental treats that I give him but he doesn't chew much so it doesn't help much with his teeth. I am not about to put my hands in there to brush what teeth he has left. He can be a bitter when he wants to. I have tried to wean him off onto something more nutritious but he takes one smell and walks away, you have no idea how many bags of food I have taken back to the Pet Store.
    He also has Entropion it was of both eyes. I took him to a new vet and they did surgery right away. His right eye looks fine no running, but the left eye I think they really messed it up because it runs and if I don't catch him and wipe his eye it is all the way down the side of his nose. The surgery was done 5/20/2014. He was given Baytril (can't read the writing) wore a special collar so he would not lick and rub his eyes. The sutures were removed 6/3/2014 he was given PNB Opthalmic ointment for left eye 3 times a day. I ended up taking him back and they then said he has an allergy. I think they messed up his eye and don't want to admit it and re-do it. Also had a lot of teeth removed. So I guess I am asking find a new vet and have surgery on the left eye again? He was a monster to take care of. He is a very large cat hard to handle with pills and ointment but I mustered threw. I don't want him to go blind yet I can't really afford surgery again. I have to wash his face quite often If I don't catch it with a Kleenex. He was also suffering from joint pain so I started him on pet Omega 3/E (1 tab) and it sure made a difference in his ability to get up and down better of course I made stairs for him to make it easier. He also has very very dry skin I thought the Omega 3/E would help with that and I am sure it has but his skin is still very flaky and dry. What can I do about that. I have hydrocortisone I spray it on the brush and brush him really well and I also have Petkin itch wipes. It is suppose to soothe itch & pain. It has aloe & oatmeal enriched. He takes Advantage II for fleas I am going to spray my house & yard with Diatomaceous Earth ([b]Food grade)[/b] it is suppose to be very good at getting rid of fleas and not hurting anyone. In fact some people eat it to get rid of parasites. Hopefully that will help if indeed there are fleas here in the house and yard. He bites and his feet pulling chunks of hair out so something is bothering him. What can I do about that. Can he have 2 tablets of Omega3/E? He is about 15 to 20 lbs. He is a large cat. He has very large feet so that should tell you how large he is. I am sure he is part Burmese. When I look at the pictures in the cat books he looks very close to that. Is there anything holistic I can give him to help with his eye and itchy dry skin?
    Sorry this is so long. Any help you could give me would be greatly appreciated.