1) Proper pet selection
Making sure that you are adopting the right pet is one of the most important decisions that you may make. For instance, if you are away from home 16 hours-a-day, adopting an energetic Labrador Retriever puppy might not be a good choice as they require a lot of time to burn energy during the day. Or if you have a very busy house with new people coming in and out all the time, a cat might not be compatible since many of them prefer a more stable environment. There are many resources available for breed choices including your breeder, shelter or veterinarian. If you are considering adopting a new dog or cat make sure you find the right fit for your house!
2) Preventative medicine
a. Dental care: Oral hygiene is one of the biggest factors in overall health. You brush your teeth every day, but are you neglecting your pets? It is not just about bad breath; there may be serious periodontal disease that is causing pain and infections. The first step is understanding where your pet’s oral health stands. This will be accomplished with your annual wellness appointment. Your Veterinarian will tell you what is going on inside the mouth and what you can do to treat or prevent dental disease. The next step is preventative care. Brushing is by far the best thing that you can do for your dog or cats teeth at home. If this is not possible, there are many other products on the market that may help keep their teeth clean. Stop by T.A.H. and pick up a dental handout if you would like to see any of these products.
- Intestinal parasites (Roundworms, whipworms, hook worms, tapeworms) are typically picked up in the environment when animals carrying them defecate and your pet happens upon this area (many are passed from mom to pups or kittens).
- Heartworms are transmitted from mosquitos, and it only takes one. Keep in mind that even your indoor pets can be bit from a Mosquito inside your house. Heartworm Disease is the clinical course of the disease in which your pet can present with a certain type of heart failure. It is important that we diagnose this before they develop heart failure which is done with the annual 4Dx heartworm Elisa test.
- Ectoparasites can be transmitted via touch, or commonly your feet. Mostly we think of fleas and ticks, but lice, mites, and others are also important to know about.
The great thing is there are many products that can help you with prevention, like Sentinel (oral heartworm, intestinal parasite, and flea preventative), Proheart (6-month injectable heartworm and parasite preventative), Bravecto (3-month oral flea and tick preventative), and others. See more about the products we carry on our Products Page.
d. Vaccinations: Vaccines are one of the best ways to help prevent disease not only with your pets, but those around you. Many of these diseases such as canine parvovirus (Panleukopenia in cats) can stay in the environment for over a year, and can devastating if your pets contracts it. Rabies, is required by law to have updated regularly, and is still diagnosed regularly in Ohio (19 cases this year) and Michigan (25 cases, including two bats in Wayne county).
Everyone has that neighbor… they don’t pick up after their dogs, their cat comes into your yard and leaves presents for you to find, they let their dog stay outside and bark for hours, let their dog roam off leash and are shocked when they come sprinting toward yours on your walk. Please keep in mind that while you don’t have control over your neighbors, you can control your own actions and your pet.
4) ID tags (rabies, Home number and address, Dog License)
One of the saddest days we have here is when someone in our community finds a dog or cat and brings it to T.A.H. hoping we can find their owner… but with no ID tag or microchip, there is little we can do. These animals often end up at the dog warden or Humane Society and we hope that they find their home. Please keep some form of identification on your pets (ID tag, rabies tag, dog license or microchip) and keep the information on these up to date!
a. Having an emergency is typically not expected with your pets, but we see it every day. From lacerations, to being hit by a car, from heat stroke to an emergency Foreign Body surgery, we see it all. Every time it is devastating to have to deal with… trying to save the pet’s life or well being AND deal with the unexpected expense on our pet’s parents. While we here at T.A.H. try our best to help with any given situation, ultimately the decision to treat is out of our hands. There are many options out there to handle this unexpected cost - from starting an emergency fund, applying for Care Credit, Pet Health Insurance, and others. Please contact us if you have any questions about these.
b. Emergency situations typically arise with little warning. If you are unexpectedly unable to care for your pet, is there someone that will know to take care of them? The alternative is that they will be left alone. We recommend developing an Emergency Action Plan for your pets where you would have someone that would be able to get to your pets, care for them, and is authorized to treat any illness if needed until you are able to care for them again. It is also helpful to have something posted at your house for Emergency Responders to know that there are pets in your house, in case an emergency arises (i.e. fire) and they need to enter the home or save them from danger.
We hope this blog gave you some good ideas on how to be a responsible pet owner OR... if you're already doing it all, a reason to pat yourself on the back!
- Dr. Garcia