How to keep our pets happier, healthier for longer

Morgan McCabe Times Correspondent

Our furry, winged, winged and scaly friends contribute to our well-being from childhood to old age and show us unconditional love.

And they do this while largely hiding their pain, so we need to be attuned to their well-being. Working with a veterinary practice is the first step towards achieving this.

“A diet that’s beneficial is key,” says Kelly Kwilosz, practice manager at St. John, where he has worked for 20 years. “Work with your veterinarian to determine a diet that meets your pet’s specific needs.”

He says monthly heartworm and flea and tick prevention is also required.

Finally, Kwilosz stresses that annual checkups for all pets are crucial to catch problems early and make treatment more manageable and less expensive.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, consistent positive interaction with our pets, including socialization, problem-solving games, and shared physical activity, is vital to their well-being. The American Kennel Club says puppies can start socializing with people at three weeks and be potty trained at eight. Even old dogs can be taught new tricks with patience.

Pets benefit from regular grooming, which includes checking the ears, teeth, paws and nails, according to This also provides a regular opportunity to check for injuries, pests, skin problems and growths.

The Daily Wag blog explains the importance of maintaining a safe environment with clean, comfortable bedding to reduce health risks and stress. If your pet is anxious from environmental changes, isolation, or unfamiliar situations, the Humane Society suggests talking to your veterinarian about coping strategies.

The Animal Foundation offers advice on proper care, citing fresh water, nutritious food, bathroom breaks, regular exercise and protection from extreme temperatures.

In a Wirecutter article published in the New York Times on June 24, 2021, he warns against ever leaving pets in a hot car and suggests water activities or cooling wraps or mats to reduce the risk of overheating. Advice on preventing and treating frostbite can be found on the Anti-Cruelty Society website, Frostbite can occur in less than 30 minutes when temperatures are below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If you see pale, gray or blue skin discoloration. notice coldness, tenderness, paleness, or pain in an area when touched. any swelling, blisters or skin ulcers. or blackened or dead skin, take your pet to the vet immediately.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends rabies and distemper vaccinations, required by Indiana law for ferrets, dogs and cats over three months of age, to prevent life-threatening disease.

“Vaccinations prevent many diseases and improve the quality and longevity of our pets’ lives,” Angela Price, practice manager at Crossroads Animal Hospital in Crown Point. It is “the most economical way to protect against diseases that are very expensive to treat.”

Rabies and distemper vaccinations are required by Indiana law for ferrets, dogs and cats over three months of age.

Discuss spaying a female or neutering a male pet with your vet as it can increase longevity. The Humane Society notes two studies showing that neutered animals live longer. A 2013 study from Banfield Pet Hospital in Vancouver, Washington, looking at over 2 million dogs and cats found that dogs’ lifespans increased by 18% for males and 23% for females, and 39% for cats. females and 62% for males. if spayed or neutered.

According to PetMD, the average lifespan of dogs is 10-13 years, although it varies by breed and size. Small dogs like Yorkshire Terriers can live for 18 years and giant breeds like Great Danes for 8-12 years. PetMD also notes that domestic cats typically live 12-18 years.

AMVA says exotic and specialty animals are part of 13% of American households. According to PetMD, lifespans for entry-level pets range from 18-36 months for hamsters and 2-4 years or rats. Chinchillas and goldfish can live up to 20, boa constrictors 30 and turtles sometimes 150. Parrots can live an average of six years and parrots can live 100 years.

To help our pets perform gracefully, “It’s very important, just like with humans, to have regular annual visits and blood work,” Price said. “Listen and follow your veterinarian’s instructions to protect your pet’s well-being.”

If an older pet appears ill, it is essential to act quickly. For optimal quality of life, consult with your veterinarian about adjusting your senior pet’s diet and exercise, make sure your home is comfortable and accessible, and schedule more frequent grooming sessions to check for anything out of the ordinary.

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