Tuesday, May 10, 2005

A 12-Month Checklist for Your Pet’s Well-Being

press release from Veterinary Pet Insurance

Dr. Peter Weinstein, VPI’s medical director, provides this 12-month checklist of effective care for your important furry family member:
JANUARY – Update Vaccinations
Start your pet’s year off on the right foot by doing a “Well Care Audit.” Make sure you know when and which Well Care Services your pet needs. Update vaccinations, including those for lyme disease, hepatitis, and rabies.
FEBRUARY – Celebrate Spay Day!
Have your dog or cat neutered or spayed. Animal overpopulation creates crowding in shelters and leads to the euthanasia of millions of pets each year. Celebrate the Doris Day Foundation’s Spay Day USA, a national campaign to end euthanasia of healthy, adoptable animals, on February 22, 2005.
MARCH – Spring Cleaning
Spring is right around the corner - clean up winter products, such as antifreeze and road salt, that can be harmful to your outdoor pet. “Anti-freeze contains a product that is sweet to the taste and thus quite palatable to dogs,” says Dr. Weinstein. “Unfortunately, it is also quite toxic to a dog’s kidneys.”
APRIL – Weight Watchers
Once the weather warms up, maintain your pet’s proper weight with exercise. Go outside for some fresh air after a long, cold winter indoors. According to research conducted by VPI, more than 40 percent of American pets are overweight. “Taking your dog for a brisk walk or jog at least twice a day can help you stick to your own New Year’s resolutions as well,” says Dr. Weinstein.
MAY - Flea and tick control
Flea and tick control is a must during warmer months when pets are spending more time outdoors. “Over the last ten years or so, flea and tick control has become so much easier,” indicates Weinstein. With the increasing spread of lyme disease, the need for better tick control is imperative.
JUNE - Microchip Your Pet
There is nothing more distressing than having a pet disappear. Having your pet micro-chipped is one way of helping to get your pet returned to you. Microchips are permanent identifiers injected under the skin between the shoulder blades. They will help you get your pet back in the unfortunate circumstance when they escape or disappear.
JULY – Prepare Pets for Travel
As more and more people travel during the summer so are pets who travel in planes, trains and automobiles with their owners. “Transporting your pet in your car can be a challenge when you have a 70-pound lab,” warns Weinstein. “Consider a dog crate or dog specific seat belt harness for your four-legged family member every time you get into the car.”
AUGUST - Heartworm Testing
Mosquitoes are omnipresent in most parts of the country and carry many diseases. Among these are West Nile Virus and heartworm disease. Heartworm is a disease that, if untreated, will eventually lead to death. Your pet should be heartworm tested and put on a preventive program appropriate to the region your pet lives in.
SEPTEMBER – Back to School is Not Just for Kids
For millions of students, September means back to school, but pet owners can also take advantage of this time of year and enroll their pet in a pet grooming school. With thousands of schools available across the country, pet owners can tame their naughty pets, which can help prevent unnecessary accidents later down the road.
OCTOBER - Cancer Screening
As in people, cancer is one of the most common causes of death. Success in treatment is dependent upon early diagnosis. For chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or surgery to be most effective, the cancer must not have spread throughout the body. Your pet should have a thorough physical exam at least once a year.
NOVEMBER – Winter Weather Warnings
Cold weather, forced air heating, and shorter days takes a toll on pets. “Make sure you do what is needed to provide sufficient shelter from the elements,” says Weinstein. This can mean insulating an outside dog house or providing a jacket or booties. Also, adding fatty acid supplements to a diet can help a pet’s coat that is drying out.
DECEMBER – Spoil Your Pets, Safely!
A gift for your cat or dog should be fun and safe! Make sure you get the right size toy for them also. “The two-pound Nylabone might be a little difficult for the five-pound Yorkie,” says Weinstein. People food is not a gift for your pet but may be a gift for your vet. Finally, consider pet insurance for the gift that keeps on giving! For rates, visit www.petinsurance.com .