If you have a bond with a dog or cat, you’ll understand how special these animals are to families. They offer endless entertainment, love, emotional support, and maybe even warmth at night (if your dog or cat shares the bed). Studies have revealed many mental, as well as physical health benefits that result from caring for a companion animal. Not only do dogs and cats have the ability to ease human stress, they might also reduce your risk of a heart attack. Our dogs and cats could be saving our lives without us even realizing! We owe it back to our dogs and cats to ensure they stay happy and healthy by taking them to a trusty veterinarian for regular check-ups.

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) recommends for dogs and cats to have check-ups annually, at least. Okay, so we know visiting a veterinarian can be stressful, expensive, and inconvenient. The same applies for visiting a doctor for your personal health. Believe it or not, a calm and low stress vet visit is possible and might be necessary to maintain your dog or cat’s ideal wellbeing.

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Catch Signs of Cooties Quick!

By cooties, we mean dog and cat ailments. Dogs and cats don’t always reveal obvious symptoms of illness. No one likes having cooties … it’s embarrassing! But really, animals in the wild will often hide signs of illness as a survival tactic to avoid being kicked out of their pack. Even if you believe your animal is very healthy, has little or no exposure to other animals, receives top-quality nutrition, and sleeps on a prince/princess pillow – this does not guarantee your dog or cat is actually healthy. It is better be safe than sorry and catch ailments before they become noticeable.

So, every year, it’s important to have your dog or cat physically examined with blood work and a fecal exam, especially as your animal advances in age. Be sure to check for diabetes, thyroid disease, adrenal disease, parasites, allergies, ear infections, heart worm disease (even if your dog is on heartworm preventative, it unfortunately does not guarantee 100 percent that she/he will not get heartworm), irregular heart rhythms, kidney diseases, gingivitis, periodontal disease, and cancer. You might even consider taking this list with you for your next veterinarian visit to ensure all is tested for.

Not to scare our readers, but … there are countless examples of dogs and cats who have passed away unexpectedly due to treatable illnesses because they did not experience regular check-ups. We might agree that your dog or cat’s princess/prince pillow is not entirely necessary – but a vet visit can be vital.

Prevention Through Vaccinating Wisely

It was once believed and recommended by veterinarians that the more vaccines, the better off your pet will be. Like people, many companion animals are being overmedicated. Also like people, every animal is different and thus requires individualized assessment of health and needs. Some dogs and cats experience allergic reactions to certain vaccines, while others respond very well. It’s also important to ask: what does my dog or cat really need? Discuss this with your veterinarian to find out how you can best serve your companion animal.

Frequent Checkups From You!

When we refer to check-ups, generally we associate visiting a doctor, but you too can give your dog or cat frequent check-ups (still not an alternative to visiting a veterinarian at least once a year) to make sure she/he is behaving normally and appearing healthy. This might be one way of reducing pet-care costs, since you can snag issues early before they turn into something serious (e.g. surgery).

Next time you visit a veterinarian, ask her/him to teach you how to clean your animal’s ears, eyes, and teeth. You can even check your dog or cat’s pulse, respiration, and temperature. Bad breath? Yuck … could be a sign of digestive issue. Better get that checked out!

Look out for signs of any abnormal behaviors such as increased aggression, picky eating, excessive drinking, panting, coughing, trouble breathing, lethargy, anxiousness, hiding, whimpering, etc. Even though dogs and cats might think they’re hiding their illnesses, be one step ahead of them. Know what to look out for. Also, animals might not experience symptoms at all right away for a deadly disease, so … you got it – don’t forget your vet visit.

Finding the Best Checkup Option for Your Dog or Cat

As Green Monsters, we are always looking out for the best possible care solutions for people, animals, and the environment. Perhaps you might look into holistic options for your dog or cat. Sometimes traditional or conventional methods of veterinary practice are the best options for your pet’s specific needs (e.g. your dog or cat will probably want some pain meds after recovering from an intense surgery), though for most other procedures, you can support your animal’s needs through natural remedies. If you are considering natural therapies, be sure to consult a professional and tell your regular vet as well so they can offer their support.

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So now that you’ve learned why it is so important to schedule regular check-ups for your fur baby –check your calendar! Is your dog or cat ready for a checkup?

Image source: vetconm.com