February is Responsible Pet Owner Month! Here are the top tips from Patton Chapel Animal Clinic on responsible pet ownership.
Young woman playing and enjoying the time with her dog
1. Schedule two veterinary appointments this year – Pets need regular veterinary care to live long, healthy, happy lives. The best time to bring your pet in is for a Wellness & Preventative Care checkup. Seeing your pet when he or she is feeling good gives veterinarians a baseline to use in case of trouble. Yearly lab work provides information that can be useful as your pet ages or to detect disease.

2. Schedule an annual dental cleaning – Besides just bad breath, poor dental health can lead to heart, liver and kidney disease. February is also Pet Dental Health Month – 20% off dental cleaning appointments!

3. Don’t skip out on their exercise – Regular exercise maintains a healthy weight, builds strength and endurance and reduces behavior and medical problems associated with inactivity. Depending on breed, age and size, activity levels will vary, but do not let the winter months keep you from jogging or walking your dog. Most dogs will retrieve balls or toys for hours if you will toss it for them! Encourage cats to be active with toys or chasing laser pointers.

4. Consider training – Beyond learning the basics of sit, stay and come, effective training can help your pet become a successful member of your family and build a strong bond between you. Starting early as a puppy or soon after you adopt, but training can be applied to all ages. You can teach an old dog new tricks! Our sister clinic, Valleydale Animal Clinic, has a Certified Dog Trainer on staff.

5. Provide heartworm prevention – Heartworm disease, a potentially life-threatening condition, is prevalent in Alabama because of mosquitoes. Heartworms live in the heart, blood vessels and lungs of an infected pet. While treatment is available, prevention is much safer and without side effects. Even indoor pets need to be on heartworm prevention – there are numerous products available including monthly pills, topical options or an injectable from the veterinarian.

6. Provide flea/tick prevention – Besides being an annoyance to you and your pet, fleas cause dermatitis, skin infections and anemia. Ticks can carry fatal diseases such as Lyme, so always check your pet before you bring them inside.

7. Make sure your pet has up-to-date ID tags and have a microchip implanted. Microchips use radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to store a number that is registered with pet information and owner contact details in national databases. Veterinarians or shelters that find a lost animal will use a scanner to read the microchip to identify the pet and owner.

8. Spay/neuter – Spaying and neutering not only helps control animal population, but it can also protect dogs and cats from various diseases, including cancer.

Call us at 205-267-0067 with questions or to schedule an appointment.