How to keep your pet healthy
pet depends on you to keep him safe and
It is the least you can do in return
for all of the love and companionship that
he gives you.
Keeping your little buddy healthy and
safe will help him be a great companion to
you for as long as possible.
are a few simple things that you can do to
keep your pet healthy and safe:
1. Keep your cat indoors
and your dog safely fenced or on a leash at
A pet that is roaming freely outdoors
is exposed to many risks, many of which can
be deadly. These include:
Being hit by a car
Poisoning by chemicals such as lawn
chemicals, antifreeze, rat poisons, and
Contracting diseases such as rabies,
feline leukemia, feline AIDS (FIV) and
feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)
Abuse by humans
Being stolen (possibly for the
purpose of being sold to an animal
Being injured or killed by outdoor
predators or dogs
2. Yearly veterinary
Routine veterinary visits may be able
to pick up signs of illness before they
Also, your veterinarian will be able
to review with you the things that you need
to be doing at home to prevent illness.
Of course, keeping your little buddy
up-to-date on his vaccinations as
recommended by your veterinarian is a
crucial part of good preventative care.
3. Spay and neuter all of
your companion animals.
Most people know that spaying and
neutering is the single most important way
to decrease the pet overpopulation problem
which results in the euthanasia of millions
of adoptable animals each year.
However, many people do not know that
spaying and neutering can prevent many
serious, and often deadly, diseases in their
who are spayed are free of the risk of
uterine and ovarian cancer, and have a
decreased risk of mammary cancer.
Males who are neutered are spared the
risk of testicular cancer and have a
decreased risk of prostate problems.
In addition, sterilized animals will
roam and fight less, thus preventing
Animals who are spayed and neutered
will have a significantly decreased risk of
some behavioral problems, such as spraying,
which could ultimately result in their being
rendered homeless in a shelter and awaiting
4. All dogs should take
some type of socialization/training class(es).
A dog that has learned how to follow
commands can be kept safer than one who has
not learned what different commands mean. A dog that is running toward traffic, or getting too close to
a hot stove, a heater or a dangerous animal
will, if trained, stop when told to do so,
thereby staying safe.
An educated dog who knows what
“drop it” or “leave it alone” means
can be stopped from swallowing dangerous
5. Your pet should wear
some type of identification at all times.
Every pet in your household should
wear an identification collar and tag at all
microchips can be easily inserted under your
pet’s skin by a veterinarian.
Even if your cat never goes outdoors,
she should always have some sort of
Cats can easily slip out the door,
detected or undetected, and will be much
harder to locate if she is not wearing any
6. Feed your little buddy nutritious food.
Check with your veterinarian
regarding the best diet to feed your
You should feed them the highest
quality food that you can afford in order to
keep them as healthy as possible.
But don’t overdo it.
Too much food will lead to obesity.
7. Be sure that your
companion animal gets plenty of exercise.
This will help keep him fit and
healthy and will help to prevent obesity.
8. Isolate new pets from
You should keep any new additions to
your animal family separated from household
animals until you are sure that the new
member has no infectious diseases.
In general, new animals should be
kept away from other household animals for
Protect your pet from common
There are many things around the
house that can prove dangerous, and even
deadly, to your companion animals.
This list is taken from The Humane
Society of the United States (http://www.hsus.org/ace/11840).
Antifreeze that contains ethylene
glycol has a sweet taste that attracts
animals, but is deadly if consumed in even
small quantities; one teaspoon can kill a
The HSUS recommends that pet owners
use a safe antifreeze in their vehicles.
Look for antifreeze that contains
propylene glycol, which is safe if ingested
by animals in small amounts.
Whichever you use, always keep the
antifreeze where your pets cannot get into
and garden chemicals
Chemicals used on lawns and gardens,
such as fertilizer and plant food, can be
fatal to a pet. Remember to keep such chemicals where your pets cannot get
Also, keep pets off of lawns that
have had these chemicals recently applied.
Chocolate is poisonous to dogs, cats,
De-icing salts used to melt snow and
ice are paw irritants that can be poisonous
Paws should be washed and dried as
soon as the animal comes in from the snow. Other options include doggie boots with Velcro straps.
Of course, keeping cats indoors will
eliminate their exposures to these dangerous
and tick products
Some of the over-the-counter flea and
tick remedies may be toxic to companion
Prescription flea and tick control
products are much safer and more effective.
Pet owners should never use any
product without first consulting a
Some human medications, including
aspirin, Tylenol, ibuprofen (Advil), cold
medicines, anti-cancer drugs,
antidepressants, vitamins and diet pills,
among others, can be toxic and potentially
deadly to animals.
Keep all medication containers,
ointments, and creams closed and in a safe
place where your companion animals cannot
get into them and cannot chew through the
Be vigilant about finding and safely
disposing of any dropped pills.
Chicken bones can easily shatter
and can choke a cat or dog.
Other human foods to keep away from
pets include onions and onion powder;
alcoholic drinks; yeast dough; coffee
grounds and beans; salt; macadamia nuts;
tomato, potato, and rhubarb leaves and
stems; avocados (toxic to birds, mice,
rabbits, horses, cattle and dairy goats);
and anything with mold growing on it.
Poisonous household plants include
azaleas, geraniums, dieffenbachia (dumb
cane), mistletoe, philodendrons and
poinsettia, among others.
Rawhide doggie chews may be
contaminated with salmonella, which can
infect pets and humans.
These kind of chews can also pose a
choking hazard as well and, therefore,
should only be offered to a pet with
yard, rubberbands, and dental floss
All of these products are easy to
swallow and can cause intestinal blockages
If you do play with your pet using
any of these things, you should remember to
keep them stored away safely whenever you
are not supervising the play session.
with removable parts
Toys that have small pieces which can
come off – like squeaky toys or stuffed
animals with plastic eyes – can pose a
choking hazard to animals. Remove from the toys any small pieces which could come off
and throw them away in a place where your
pets (and small children) cannot get to
You should keep entire drapery cords
tied up above the window.
Cats can strangle themselves in cords
that are left dangling down.
Dryer doors should always be kept
like to explore small areas, especially ones
with soft clothes in them, and may be killed
if someone unknowingly shuts them in the
dryer and starts it.
all of your precautions have failed and you
believe that your pet may have been
poisoned, contact your veterinarian or
emergency veterinary clinic immediately.
Signs of poisoning can include such
things as listlessness, abdominal pain,
vomiting, diarrhea, muscle tremors, lack of
coordination and fever.
further information about common household
The American Veterinary Medicine
Association publishes Pet
to Common Small Animal Poisons.
The HSUS, in conjunction with the
American Red Cross, publishes a book
entitled Pet First Aid: Cats and Dogs.
The ASPCA Animal Poison Control
Center operates a hotline 24 hours a day,
seven days a week at 888-426-4435 or
900-680-0000 for a fee of $45 per case.
Signs of Illness In Your Pet
is often difficult to tell when your
companion animal is ill.
Pets frequently will hide signs of
illness and pain from their humans.
Sometimes even subtle signs can be
signs of serious illness.
When in doubt, take your little buddy
to the veterinarian.
of possible illness include:
misses more than one meal
urinating or defecating in
stops using the litter box
drinking or urinating more than usual
any new lumps or skin lesions
hides for more than a day
in the stool
changes his routine or looses
interest in his favorite game