Our pets are like family members. We want them to live long, healthy and happy lives. Pets need love and attention to be happy. Along with plenty of affection, follow these six common sense tips to keep your furry friend around as long as possible.

1. Keep Your Pet Safe

Don’t allow your pet to roam around outdoors unsupervised. Even if you have a fenced-in area for them, check it often to make sure there are no damaged places for them to escape. Cats can climb fences, so keep them indoors for safety. Provide them with interactive toys and scratching posts.

2. Help Your Pet Maintain its Proper Weight

Many times we give pets too many treats because it’s so hard to resist those eyes. But resist you must. Just like humans, maintaining a healthy weight means a longer lifespan for your pet. Online body score charts can help you determine a healthy weight for your pet.

If your pet has been putting on weight, take steps to help them lose it. This means reducing their caloric intake. Be careful with table scraps. Fat trimmings and foods like hotdogs are especially bad for small dog breeds. Exercise helps burn excess calories. Taking your dog for a long walk has the added benefit of providing you with exercise too. Play with your cat and provide her with indoor climbing toys.

3. Provide a High-Quality Food And Fresh Water

Pets need a balanced, nutritious diet. Look for a high-quality food rich in protein and low in grains. Provide food that meets the needs of different stages in life. Senior dogs and cats have different nutritional requirements than puppies. Avoid over or underfeeding pets by using the recommended servings chart.

Proper hydration is important to your pet’s health. Always keep fresh clean water where it is handy for them. Don’t get busy and forget to check before you leave home. Don’t leave them in environments with extreme temperatures. A lack of hydration is hard on the heart and kidneys. A well-hydrated pet will have pink gums and light-colored urine.

4. Visit the Vet Once a Year

Pick a veterinarian for your pet and make sure he gets an annual checkup. Attempts to save money can end up being more costly in the long run. The doctor can spot problems and diseases that you can’t. Establish a good relationship with your pet’s doctor. This will make it easier to discuss money-saving options and different levels of treatment.

The veterinarian will make sure your pet receives the proper vaccinations. This is crucial to prevent deadly diseases like distemper and rabies. Rabies vaccinations are required by law in most states.

5. Keep Your Pet Free of Pests

Besides discomfort, parasites like fleas, ticks, and heartworms can cause serious illnesses in pets. Fleas can cause tapeworm infestations, and heartworms will eventually lead to heart failure. There are many good options for flea and tick control available. They are available in topical and pill form. Make sure your dog is on a heartworm preventative.

6. Brush and Groom Your Pet

Pets loved to be brushed and groomed. Brushing helps create a bond with them, and it gives you a chance to notice any changes in their body such as lumps. Brush long-haired pets more often to avoid knots and excessive shedding. This also helps cut down on pet hair in your house. Look for supplements to help them have healthy skin and a shiny coat.

Regularly brushing your pet’s teeth helps prevent both gum and heart disease. Check for dirty ears and clean them. This can prevent ear infections and extra trips to the vet. Check and clean your pet’s paws after he’s been outdoors. Parasites such as hookworms can enter the skin through the feet. It’s also possible to ingest pesticides and other chemicals from lawns when your pet licks his paws. Although it’s a small amount, the residue can build up over time and affect your pet’s health.

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