They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. And this goes double for our pets! Taking a few moments out of the day to prevent an injury or illness is easier, quicker, and far less expensive than a trip to the vet. Plus, by maintaining a regular routine, if something new or different does crop up with your pet, you’ll be more likely to catch it and address it sooner.
Not sure where to start? Here are my five proven preventative pet care routines:
1. Measure Meals + Treats
My dog, Chilly, is on a veterinary prescribed diet for a kidney condition (which is getting a lot better).
We supplement his regular diet with various high-quality foods to mix things up a bit. But one thing that doesn’t change is our feeding routine. Rather than eyeballing it, we always measure the amount of food (wet or dry) to ensure he gets the right amount for his size and activity level.
Then, to give him a little extra brain and body boost, we use his favorite treat dispensers to feed him all of his dry kibble (he loves the Bob-a-Lot dispenser). Not only does this ensure he gets the right amount of food, the dispenser engages his brain, keeps him busy, and burns calories!
I also measure out treats for the day so that we don’t “over treat” Chilly. His current favorite is the super wholesome, single-ingredient Freeze Dried Chicken Breast Treat from the folks at iHeartDogs. I love it because it’s healthy and every package purchased
feeds 14 shelter dogs through the company’s partnership with Rescue Bank!
If you’re unsure of the proper amount of food or treats to feed your pet, consult with your veterinarian or check out this guide for help.
2. Soothe the Skin
The skin is the largest organ in the body so it’s important to include it in your preventative care routine. To soothe Chilly’s itchy skin during allergy season, I use Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Hydrogel. He also has a tendency to chew and lick certain areas of his body so much that he loses his fur. I’ve tried everything to treat it but nothing really worked until I started using the Vetericyn Hot Spot Spray. The results have been simply amazing! (Check out my Instagram account @petliving for an incredible before and after.) Oh! And let’s not leave out the kitties. Vetericyn Wound Care Spray comes in handy to treat minor “war wounds” if your cats – like mine – don’t really get along.
Finally, if you want to prevent skin infections and keep dirty dog smell at bay, regular baths are key. We LOVE the Vetericyn FoamCare Medicated Shampoo because it comes in a spray bottle for easy application, foams up fast, and rinses clean easily. It makes bath time much faster and helps keep Chilly’s skin healthy! Be sure to use my code PETLIVING for 20% off your entire purchase at Vetericyn.com.
3. Get Moving
These days, our pets are packing on the pounds. In fact, over half of the pet population in the US is overweight or obese. Keeping your pet at a healthy weight will help prevent weight-related problems like heart disease, diabetes, and debilitating joint issues. In addition to measuring the proper amount of food, help keep your pet in tip top shape with regular exercise.
Chilly and I head out for a walk two times a day, weather permitting. On bad weather days, I try to stop what I’m doing at least three times a day to play with him using a tug toy or a good old-fashioned game of chase around the living room. When it comes to the cats, I try to regularly engage them with a toy, encouraging them to chase, jump, and pounce. It doesn’t really matter what you do, as long as you both find it fun and it gets your pet moving.
4. Visit the Vet
It’s easy to let vet appointments slip to the bottom of your to-do list. But regular check-ups for both dogs and cats can help prevent problems down the road. Younger pets should see a vet once a year while senior pets benefit from twice-yearly visits. (Because Chilly’s technically a senior at age 8, we see the vet more often than he’d like, I’m sure.)
If your pet is on medication, stick to the dosage instructions to ensure your pet gets and/or stays healthy. If you need a reminder, schedule daily or monthly doses into your calendar or set a reminder on your smart phone.
5. Carve out quality time
This is probably one of the easiest, most satisfying preventative measures you can take. Spending time bonding with your pet has amazing health and psychological benefits for you both. Chilly and I bond during walks, playtime, or just hanging on the sofa watching Netflix. In the mornings, I spend time with my cat, Turdie, over coffee. In the evenings, I cuddle with my other cat, Olivia, while I’m reading a book.
Do whatever brings you and your pet closer together. Just make sure you take at least 15 minutes a day to do nothing but spend time with your pet. It will do you both good!