2 biggest causes of health problems for your pet
In a 2009 nationwide poll of Angie’s List members, 60 percent of pet owners spent between $200 and $1,000 last year on their pets’ health and another 18 percent spent more than $1,000.
Highly rated veterinarians discuss the two most common causes of health concerns for household pets.
No. 1: Weight management
- Obesity is as common a problem in household pets as it is in people. It’s important that you avoid allowing your pet to take in more calories than he or she will burn off per day. Obesity can cause an array of health problems, including cancer. Nearly 40 percent of respondents to the Angie’s List poll say their pet has health issues, and nearly 1 in 4 say their pet is overweight.
- Seeing the veterinarian at least once per year is an important part of your pet's preventative medicine program. Older pets should be seen more frequently based upon their age and other medical issues.
- Properly examining and discussing health risks allows your veterinarian to work with you in designing a customized health program for your pet's specific health requirements.
- Early detection of problems like dental, cardiac, gastrointestinal, orthopedic or behavioral issues allows a greater chance of successfully treating your pet’s health conditions.
Number 2: Dental Hygiene
- Open your pet's mouth and examine the teeth and gums for one clue to their overall health. Shiny white teeth, pink healthy gums and fresh breath are major signs of health. Stinky breath, red lines or swellings on the gums and bad breath indicate a need for your veterinarian's assistance.
- Pet owners can attempt to brush their pets’ teeth themselves on a regular basis, but that should not replace regular dental care by a professional.
- Bacteria from the mouth because of poor dental health can lead to more serious problems, including significant damage to the organs.
- Dental health is so important in our pets that veterinary medicine now has specialists who are veterinary dentists, these doctors deal specifically with diseases of the mouth, including teeth, gums, growths/tumors, and bone disease or injury to the mouth.
- If your pet has dental issues, look for a vet who carries the Veterinary Oral Health Council (VOHC) seal of approval. Pet dental cleanings generally require general anesthesia.
Questions to ask your veterinarian before a cleaning:
- Will a doctor examine my pet's teeth after the dental cleaning?
- How do you monitor your patients under anesthesia?
- Have you received training in dentistry in school or after school?
- Will a doctor be performing any extractions needed?
- If extractions are needed, will you present me with other options before treating?
- Does your office have dental x-ray capability?