Keeping Your Pet Healthy While Increasing Your Bond

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National Pet Week is quickly approaching! So, it’s time to revisit some basic health related information that will help keep your pet safe and healthy while increasing your bond.

National Pet Week was jointly founded in 1981 by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the Auxiliary to the AVMA, and is widely celebrated throughout the United States and other parts of the world. In 2010, National Pet Week is celebrated from May 2-8. The goals of National Pet Week are to promote responsible pet ownership, celebrate the human-animal bond, and promote public awareness of veterinary medicine.

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Let’s revisit some friendly tips on things you can do to keep your pet happy and healthy during pet week and beyond:

Maintaining a safe environment
Remember, making sure that your home is safe for your pet is very important. Things like low electrical cords and poisonous plants can be very harmful to certain pets. In addition to general pet safety information, you should seek information about what items to keep out of your home based on what kind of pet you have. You should discuss this with your veterinarian.

Check-up, Check-up, Check-up!
Pets are very similar to humans in that, like humans, they see doctors for checkups. It’s important for animals to see a veterinarian regularly to ensure that they are in good health. Therefore, it’s critical that you bring your pet in to see the veterinarian for regular check-ups, as opposed to waiting for a problem to arise. Check-ups allow veterinarians to use preventative medicine and detect any problems before they become more advanced. Talk to your veterinarian about scheduling visits as needed.

Diet & Exercise Plan
Aside from keeping up with regular check-up visits, it’s important for you to talk to your veterinarian about a good diet and exercise plan for your pet. Particularly in cats and dogs, obesity is a risk factor for arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease. Talk to your veterinarian and design a plan that fits the needs of your pet—and help them live a healthier life.

Now that you know the importance of keeping your pet away from harmful environments, the importance of scheduling regular check-up visits with your veterinarian, and providing the right diet and exercise routine, here are some fun outdoor activities that you can do as the weather gets warmer to increase your bond and keep them healthy:

Fetch!
This is a relatively easy game to play that keeps your pet busy while at the same time motivating them to exercise. You can use any “non-choking” object to play this game like a Frisbee, ball, or stick. You can play at the park or in your own backyard; just make sure there is enough room for your pet to fetch.

Jumping
Wouldn’t it be nice if your pet knew how to jump? Well, you can teach them how to do this by holding up a raised stick, bouncing a flash light up and down the wall, or hanging a tire from a tree. You should start at lower levels and increase the level once you see that your pet is catching on to the activity, which may take some time. Nevertheless, make sure that the objects are safe and encourage them to have fun by being patient.

Walk
A change of scenery is always good, especially for your pet. So if your pet is used to running around in your backyard everyday, changing the routine every once in a while by taking a walk is a good choice. Doing so will allow your pet to wander around under your supervision and on a leash in new territory which most pets tend to enjoy. For dogs, you may want to consider taking them to your local dog park where they can exercise and socialize.

Games & Toys
There are also plenty of outdoor games and toys that provide excellent bonding activities. Check with your veterinarian to make sure what’s appropriate for your pet, and if your pet is healthy enough for strenuous activity.

For more common sense tips on keeping your pet happy and healthy visit the Animal Health Center at www.njvma.org or email info@njvma.org.


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