Caring for Your Pet

A healthy pet is a happy companion. To assure your pet's daily well being requires regular care and close attention to any hint of ill health. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) offer various suggestions on how to properly care for you pet within your home. Consider the following:

Sanitation. Good health and sanitation rules at home for the protection of your family should also include important rules with regard to pets. For example: wash pet dishes separately from your own and rinse with boiling water. Children should never kiss animals and must never be allowed to share eating dishes with them. After handling pets, their dishes, cages, or littler boxes, remember to wash you hands thoroughly with hot water and soap. Also, make sure your pets are vaccinated against disease.

Pet Poisoning. Learn about possible poisons in and around your home. Keep poisonous products out of pet's reach. People use many poisonous materials around the home every day; such as, pesticides, weed killers, lawn sprays, acids, fertilizers, paints, detergents, and various household cleaners. If your pet is poisoned: (1) keep the animal warm and quiet, (2) try to determine what the poison was, when it was ingested, and the amount swallowed, (3) immediately call your veterinarian or local poison control center.

First Aid. It's a good idea to learn first aid techniques and pet health care and have appropriate first aid supplies on hand. If emergency first aid is necessary, protect yourself first even if it's your own pet. If there is any questions of seriousness, follow up your first aid with advice from your veterinarian, whose telephone number should be kept handy with other such emergency phone numbers. Never leave dangerous objects, such as, pins, needles, and poisons within a pet's reach. Consult your local veterinarian on first aid classes offered in your area.

Flea Season. Flea bites and the scratching and chewing that follows can be very painful and uncomfortable for you pet. Furthermore, the adult fleas on your pet can actually cause serious medical problems, such as, flea allergy, dermatitis, or tapeworms, and in some extreme cases, anemia. According to the AVMA, Flea-related diseases account for more than 50 per cent of dermatology cases presented to veterinarians. Ideally, flea control should begin before flea season starts. Your veterinarian can advise you on the latest new products that kill adult fleas, eggs, and larvae. They will base their recommendations on your regional weather conditions and your pet's health and level of flea infestation.

Choosing a veterinarian. In selecting a veterinarian, your goals should be to find a doctor that best meets your needs and to establish a long-term relationship. The vet will maintain a history of your pet, including health records that detail immunizations, reactions to medications, behavior traits, etc. With you pet's healthcare needs in mind, your vet will know the best preventive and critical care to provide. We offer the following suggestions when looking for a veterinarian:

Ask a friend. Animal-owning friends are a good source of information. Ask them what they like about their veterinarian.
Breed clubs. If you have a specific breed of dog, cat or bird, these clubs can be a great source.
Local directories. Check the yellow pages or business pages of your local telephone book.
Start thinking about selecting a vet before a new pet becomes a part of your home. In fact, a vet can assist you in choosing a pet that complement your personality, work schedule and home life. Take the time to choose the right veterinarian for your special pet.
For further information on pet care contact the AVMA Network at (202) 789-0007.