We’ve all heard the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” before, and this is certainly true when it comes to the health of our pets. Four of the most common pet health problems—fleas, ear infections, obesity, and dental disease—can result in hefty veterinarian bills, but this doesn’t need to be the case. Here’s a guideline for signs of each disease, how each affects your pet, and how to prevent these common health issues:
When it comes to fleas, you definitely want to stay on the prevention side of the equation because treatments can be extensive and expensive not only for your pet, but to get rid of them in your house. Fleas can also lead to other health complications, such as tapeworms. Signs of fleas include:
- Red, irritated skin
- Tiny dark specks on the fur (flea dirt)
- Excessive scratching
To prevent: As explained in 3 Facts These Vet Techs Really Want You To Know About Fleas, over-the-counter flea products often aren’t effective at killing fleas during all stages of growth. Talk with your veterinarian about recommended topical or oral medications that you can give your pet year-round. And yes, indoor cats need flea prevention products as well.
Ear infections can become a chronic condition and create great discomfort for your pet. Signs include:
- Odor or foul smell from the ear
- Discharge from the ear
- Redness or swelling of the ear flap
- Scratching at ear
- Head shaking
To prevent: Moist ears can become a breeding ground for bacteria and yeast, particularly for dogs with floppy ears. When bathing, wipe your pet’s face and head down with a wet cloth rather than spraying him with water. And particularly if your pet likes to swim, talk with your veterinarian about regular ear cleanings.
According to The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, approximately 53% of our nation’s dogs and 58% of cats are overweight. Obesity can lead to chronic conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and arthritis. Signs your pet may be obese include:
- Visible belly fat
- Ribs, spine, or hip bones are hard to feel when touched
- Decreased energy or activity
To prevent: Obesity affects your pet’s longevity and quality of life, so make sure your pet is getting regular exercise and talk with your veterinarian about an appropriate diet. You may need to switch to a weight-management food product and decrease treats or the amount of food at each feeding.
Dental disease can cause bacterial infections and oral pain, and can affect your pet’s quality and length of life. Signs include:
- Red or swollen gums
- Tartar buildup
- Bad breath
- Chewing on one side of mouth only
To prevent: Give your pet dental chews and brush his or her teeth at least 3 times a week. Some dogs are more predisposed to dental disease, and untreated dental disease in cats can lead to more serious health complications such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus. Talk with your veterinarian about how often you should consider dental cleanings.
PetWellClinic® offers a variety of affordable, high-quality chewable and topical monthly flea prevention products, as well as high-quality, affordable pet food through Knoxville Pet Food Company. Our friendly staff can help you determine which product is best for your pet, and can examine your pet’s ears and teeth for signs of infection or disease.
PetWellClinic® offers quick in-and-out service during convenient evening and weekend hours with no appointment necessary. To see how we’re able to offer more affordable pet care without compromising quality, take a look at our free and quick guidebook to see how PetWellClinic® can save you time and money.
PetWellClinic® has three locations: 10549 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37922; 7329 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919; and 228 S. Calderwood Street, Alcoa, TN 37701. Learn more about how PetWellClinic® can exceed your expectations for top quality, affordable pet care by visiting our website at www.petwellclinic.com.