If you're a pet owner, there are several ways you can make sure you're living up to the guardian title. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Don’t wait to get them the care they need.
If your pet is showing signs of illness or injury, take them to the vet. Don’t wait for it to get better on its own! If you’re a GoFetch+ member, you can take advantage of tele-triage: our 24/7 virtual vet support can provide insight and medical recommendations. Have peace of mind, anytime!
Take them to the vet for annual exams.
Just like us humans, our pets need regular checkups as well. Every year, you should take your pet for an annual exam and vaccinations. Annual exams are a key part of preventative care, allowing pet parents to catch any issues before they become serious medical conditions. For example, veterinarians often use blood tests to screen for heartworm disease, diabetes, and kidney disease. During the annual exam, a complete physical of your pet will be completed. They will inspect your pet from nose to tail looking for anything unusual like masses or parasites. Preventative care is less expensive than reactive care! Prevention is key!
Make sure they stay up to date on vaccines.
Vaccines are another important part of staying on top of a pet’s preventative care routine. Depending on the type of vaccine, pets may need booster shots every few weeks or months for the first year followed by annual boosters throughout their lifetime. Vaccinations are required by law in many parts of the country so that dogs and cats can be protected from serious illnesses like rabies and distemper.
Brush their teeth.
Brushing your pet's teeth is an important part of keeping them healthy. Fortunately, this can be a relatively easy process. You'll need some dog or cat toothpaste (never use human toothpaste) and a finger brush or doggie toothbrush. If you choose to use a doggie toothbrush, make sure it's the right size for your pet's mouth—ask your veterinarian if you're unsure.
To get your pet used to having their teeth brushed, start by touching their mouth in different places while praising them and giving them treats. You can then move on to using gauze dipped in animal toothpaste over the teeth before using the finger brush or doggie toothbrush itself. It might take time for your dog or cat to become comfortable with having their teeth brushed but be patient; once they get used to it, brushing their teeth will become as easy as combing their hair!
Feed them a species-appropriate diet that meets their nutritional needs.
As a responsible animal guardian, you have an important role to play in ensuring your companion animal lives a long and healthy life. Feeding them the right diet is an essential step toward doing that.
Your pet needs to consume the right amount of food, the right type of food, and the right number of calories, amino acids, and vitamins crucial to your pet’s health. There are many prescription diets that may be recommended by your veterinarian based on your pet's health concerns or breed, age, or species predispositions. If you have questions about your pet’s diet, speak with your veterinarian for recommendations based on your pet’s specific needs.
Keep them clean, so they don't get skin infections.
Keeping your pet's fur clean and free of mats will not only ensure that they smell fresh, but will also help protect against skin irritations and infections. Regular grooming can help keep the skin healthy, prevent the accumulation of dead hair, and aid in the prevention of infections. Use grooming as a way to bond with your pet!
How do I recognize a skin infection?
- Redness, inflammation of the skin, stained fur due to licking, Matted fur, constant scratching or licking, or any other changes in behavior may be signs that your pet has a serious skin irritation or infection. In addition to these symptoms, check for crusty or dry patches on their body as well as excessive shedding and dandruff. These are all common signs of an underlying skin condition which can lead to more serious issues if left untreated.
Spay or neuter them to prevent adding unwanted animals to an already overpopulated world.
Did you know that spaying and neutering reduces the number of unwanted litters? It can also prevent uterine infections and breast cancer for females and prostate disease for males. These recommended procedures also mean they're also less likely to roam away from home looking for a mate, meaning that they are less likely to get lost!
You can help control the pet homelessness crisis by simply spaying or neutering your pet. Every year millions of healthy dogs and cats are euthanized in North America due to overpopulation and crowding of shelters. There are many behavioural and medical benefits to spaying female pets and neutering male pets. Spaying and neutering can reduce the likelihood of uterine infections, breast cancer, prostate disease, and behaviour issues such as urine marking, and mounting. Spaying/neutering your pets is also highly cost-effective. The cost of your pet's spay/neuter surgery is far less than the cost of having and caring for a litter or the complications of not spaying or neutering.
Pets can't take care of themselves, so we have a duty as guardians to keep them healthy and happy.
It's important to remember that pets rely on us for food, shelter, medical care, and love. They can't do everything on their own! It's our responsibility as animal guardians to make sure they are healthy and happy. GoFetch+ members can take advantage of included vet visits to ensure their pets are taken care of when they need it the most.