DENVER, Dec. 20, 2001 /PRNewswire/ — As you make your resolutions to keep yourself healthy and happy in 2002, it’s a good time to remember the animals in your life. The American Animal Hospital Association (http://www.healthypet.com) suggests these practical resolutions that can go a long way toward ensuring a bright future for your pet.
— Make sure your pet receives a complete checkup annually. By performing a comprehensive exam that includes a lab analysis, heart check, and dental exam, your veterinarian can catch potential problems before serious consequences occur. Your veterinarian can also provide any vaccinations your pet needs, based on your lifestyle and where you live.
“Annual physical examinations are one of the best weapons pet owners have to fight disease and ensure the quality of their pet’s life,” says AAHA President-Elect Dr. Kathleen Neuhoff.
— Develop and stick with a diet and exercise program to meet your pet’s specific needs. Obesity can lead to serious pet health problems such as heart disease and joint disorders. Exercise is vital, but pets will only exercise if they have an incentive. Your veterinarian can help you design a plan based on what stage of life your pet is in, how active your pet currently is, and your pet’s general health.
— Make your home safe for pets. Unfortunately, making the home pet-safe is something many owners overlook. Making just a few changes can help protect your pet against serious hazards.
Some common household materials can kill or seriously injure your pet, including antifreeze, prescription and over-the-counter medications and some kinds of houseplants (dieffenbachia, philodendron, hyacinth, mistletoe and poinsettia). Keep these materials safely locked away. Electrical cords also are extremely hazardous when chewed, so
coat them with a bitter-tasting liquid or hide them under carpets. Also, keep sharp and breakable objects out of your pet’s reach.
— Identify your pet. Even inside-only pets can slip out the door sometimes. Make sure your pet wears some kind of identification, whether it be a collar with an I.D. tag, a microchip, a tattoo or a combination of the three.