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The new year is upon us. What better time to consider your pet’s wellness for the next twelve months than at the start of the calendar year? The team at Westarbor Animal Hospital wants to help you make a plan for your pet’s wellness needs to ensure that he or she has the healthiest and happiest year possible. Be sure to include the following in your pet wellness planning to give your pet the best chance at a healthy year:

Schedule a Pet Wellness Visit

The first item on your veterinary to-do list is to schedule a pet wellness visit for your favorite furry friend. A thorough pet wellness visit should include:

  • Any vaccinations your pet needs
  • Lab work to give your veterinarian a closer look at what is happening inside your pet
  • Deworming and fecal checks
  • Preventives for heartworm, fleas, and ticks

In addition to these foundational checks, regular pet wellness visits also give your veterinarian the chance to get to know your pet to set a baseline for good health. If your veterinarian really knows your pet, he or she can easily see signs when your pet is not feeling his best.

For optimal efficiency, pet wellness exams also include more thorough checks like:

  • A dental exam
  • An eye exam
  • An ear exam (to check for ear mites or signs of allergies)
  • A respiratory exam
  • A cardiovascular exam
  • A skin exam
  • A teeth/oral exam

Adult animals should get one wellness exam per year, and senior pets should go in for two so your veterinarian can spot any changes in health quickly. Pets should have their teeth cleaned regularly if possible. Good oral health can add years and better health to your pet’s life.

Pet Wellness and a Healthy Diet

The start of a new year is also a great time to examine your pet’s food to determine if it has the right nutrients for a healthy life. Talk to your veterinarian about the best kind of diet for your pet’s age and lifestyle needs. You may even want to introduce fresh vegetables and fruits into your dog’s diet if you don’t already. If you decide to change up your pet’s current food, be sure to introduce the new food slowly so she can get used to it before you fully transition.

Consider a Training Regiment

If your pet tends to rule the household, you might want to consider adding some training into your pet wellness plan for the year. Dogs and cats can benefit from training regimens that help them improve their behavior while increasing the human-animal bond between you two. Whether you hire a professional or take on the training on your own, improving your pet’s behavior can benefit everyone in your house.

Cleaning, Exercise, Enrichment and Socialization

While making your plan, think about your pet’s bed, bowls, toys and other equipment. Take time to be sure everything is clean and fresh. If needed, replace old, worn, or outgrown items with new supplies. Pets can become bored and need enrichment. Consider putting away toys that your pet no longer plays with and providing some new toys for your pet’s enrichment.

If your dog spends a lot of time alone, plan more time with you or arrange for time with other dogs for socialization–something important to their mental health and happiness. Here are other ideas for winter activities to keep your pet active and avoid obesity, a major heatlh risk factor.

Invest in Pet Insurance

While regular pet wellness exams are a great preventive tool for good health for your pets, it is also important to be prepared for unexpected accidents or illnesses. Investing in pet insurance for your furry friends is a great way to ensure that you can provide them with veterinary care whenever they need it. There’s nothing more heartbreaking than not being able to provide emergency pet care when it matters. During your next wellness visit, talk to your veterinarian about the pet insurance plans they accept, and go online to compare the plans that work best for your pet.

At Westarbor Animal Hospital, we want to help you keep your pets healthy and happy throughout the year. From pet wellness visits to veterinary diagnostics, we provide Ann Arbor pets with caring, compassionate care. Call today to schedule a wellness appointment for your pet.

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