Simple steps to keeping pets happy, healthy

Posted: Sunday, December 31, 2000

Don't overlook your pet's needs when making your own New Year's resolutions. As a responsible pet owner, you can make a few simple promises to yourself that will go a long way toward keeping your pet healthy and happy.

The American Animal Hospital Association suggests these practical resolutions that can ensure a bright future for your pet.

Vet checks

Make sure your pet receives a complete check-up every year.

"The annual physical is the most overlooked pet health need today," said Dr. Bill Swartz with the American Animal Hospital Association. Your vet can conduct an exam that includes a lab analysis, heart check and dental exam.

Diet and exercise

Design a diet and exercise plan to meet your pet's specific needs.

Obesity leads to serious dog and cat health problems such as heart disease. Exercise is important, but a pet only will exercise if there is an incentive to do so. Your vet will consider what stage of life your pet is in, the amount of activity your pet enjoys and the time of year before outlining a specific plan.

The right kind of food and physical activity can add to the quality of your pet's life.

Providing a safe environment

Unfortunately, making your home pet-safe often is a job that is overlooked. Pet-proofing your home can lower the risk of a serious pet accident occurring. A pet owner needs to be aware of several potential dangers.

Poisons in the home that can kill or seriously injure your pet include some kinds of house plants (dieffenbachia, philodendron, hyacinth, mistletoe, and poinsettia), antifreeze and medications.

Low electrical cords are extremely hazardous when chewed. Keep harmful objects out of your pet's reach. A little prevention may be just enough to avoid a pet tragedy from happening.

The American Animal Hospital Association asks you to provide a safe environment, quality diet, exercise and adequate medical care for your pet. Your New Year's resolutions can help you get started in the right direction.

Consult your veterinarian if you have any questions regarding your pet's health care.

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