Top 5 Reasons to Take Your Pet to Their Annual Vet Visit

Some pet parents may wonder if the annual vet visit is really worth the time and the cost. The short answer? Yes! Your pet’s annual vet visit plays a big role in maintaining their overall health, and can go a long way in preventing and treating diseases before they become serious or expensive.

So what are the top 5 reasons to take your pet to an annual vet visit? Let’s take a look.

1. A Thorough Once-Over

Your pet’s annual vet visit gives your veterinarian an opportunity to thoroughly examine your pet, from head to paw. Many pets hide symptoms of illness and injury (cats especially are famous for staying quiet when they’re unwell), but your veterinarian knows what to look for, and how. Your vet will feel your pet’s body, coat, and skin, check their ears, nose, mouth, and eyes, and listen to their heart and lungs. They will also take your pet’s temperature, weigh them, and may carry out blood tests. A thorough once-over not only allows your vet to make sure that all parts are in working order, it also gives your vet a chance to detect problems before they become serious or costly to treat.

2. Vaccination Boosters

Vaccines keep pets protected from certain diseases, and after your pet’s initial doses, they may require boosters to keep the vaccines effective. Most pets require 2-4 boosters per year and receive them at their annual vet visit; if you slack on making an appointment, you are putting your pal at risk. Don’t wait!

RELATED STORY: All About Vaccinating Your Dog

3. Heartworm Test and Fecal Exam

These are two important tests that your pet will undergo at the annual vet visit. The heartworm test is a blood test that checks for heartworm disease, which is a potentially life-threatening condition caused by parasitic worms. A fecal exam checks for gastrointestinal parasites that could harm your pet (and in some cases, you) if left untreated.

4. Additional Services

Some pets may require additional services at their annual vet visit, such as dental cleaning if your vet notices signs of dental disease, or allergy testing if you mention that your pet has been itching, scratching, or rubbing their face. The annual vet visit is the perfect time to cover all the bases and take care of outstanding issues.

RELATED STORY: Symptoms of Allergies in Cats and Dogs

5. Opportunity to Ask Questions

Maybe you’ve been wondering if your cat sleeps too much or if your dog’s food is right for them. While you should always contact your veterinarian if you have questions about your pet’s health or habits, many pet parents wait when the question doesn’t seem pressing. The annual vet visit is a great time to bring in a list of questions and talk to your veterinarian candidly about your pet’s routines, behaviors, and nutrition. You might end up with answers that can help your pet live a happier, healthier life.

What are you waiting for? Contact your veterinarian now to schedule your furry friend’s next appointment. And if you want to save 25% on vet visits, sign up for PetPlus! Find out more at PetPlus.com.

Read More...

3 Reasons Your Dog’s Heartworm Medication Could Save Its Life

Some pet parents are under the impression that the less medications they give their pet, the better. After all, haven’t wolves survived in the wild for thousands of years without being fussed over with pills and other treatments? The truth is that on average, wolves have shorter lifespans than domesticated dogs as a result of injuries, diseases, and parasites, many of which we are lucky enough to be able to prevent in our four-legged friends.

One of conditions that we can prevent in our pets is heartworm disease. Heartworm disease is a life-threatening condition caused by parasitic worms that are transmitted via mosquito bites. If you live in a colder climate or one with fewer mosquitos, you might wonder if it’s really worth it to protect your dog. The American Heartworm Society says that yes, all pets should be protected regardless of where they live.

But why, exactly? Here are 3 good reasons to give your dog heartworm medication.

1. Heartworm Disease is Life-Threatening

Heartworms reside in the pulmonary arteries of pets and in later stages of the disease they can migrate to the lungs and other organs, causing serious damage. Without prompt treatment, your dog may exhibit breathing issues (such as coughing and shortness of breath), inactivity, loss of oxygen (which can cause collapse), and permanent and irreversible organ damage.

In some cases a dog will die suddenly without exhibiting any symptoms, but in others the disease can progress over several years and the dog may eventually succumb to heart failure, blood clots, bleeding in the lungs, or other some other complication. This is no way for Fido to go, especially if it can be prevented by giving your dog heartworm medication.

2. Treating Heartworm Disease Is More Expensive Than Giving Your Dog Heartworm Medication

Preventing heartworm disease is much safer and much less costly than treating it, especially if you are using a prescription savings plan like PetPlus. For example, protecting your dog with Heartgard could cost as little as $4 a month, whereas treatment for the disease can cost anywhere from $400-$1,000 according to the American Animal Hospital Association.

3. Many Heartworm Medications Also Prevent Other Parasites

Aside from heartworms, there are other parasites that can enter your dog’s body and cause serious complications. In some cases, our dogs may even be able to pass these nasty parasites on to us — eek! Fortunately, many heartworm medications also protect dogs from other parasites, such as hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms, and fleas.

Did you know that you can save 25% on vet visits? Join PetPlus today for that and savings on all of your pet’s medication. Click here to find out more.

Read More...

6 Common Pet Health Myths Debunked

Pet health is a complicated topic, and with so much information at our fingertips these days, it can sometimes be difficult to separate fact from fiction. There are a lot of myths floating around, and in some cases, believing them could be harmful to your pet’s well-being. Here we’ll look at 6 of the most common pet health myths, and then give you the facts!

Remember: never hesitate to contact your veterinarian if you have ANY questions about your pet’s health. Making that phone call can not only save you time and anxiety, it could also save your pet’s life.

MYTH #1: If a dog’s nose is warm or dry, it means that they are sick.

FACT: The temperature or wetness of a dog’s nose is no indication of their health status. Many dogs have a warm and dry nose when they first wake up, for example, and a wet and cold nose after drinking water. While a warm or dry nose is no indication of a health problem, you should contact your veterinarian if you ever notice any unusual changes to your dog’s nose, such as crusting, bleeding, or discharge.

MYTH #2: Cats get sick less often than dogs.

FACT: Cats can get sick just as often as dogs (even indoor cats), but they are more likely and more capable of hiding their symptoms than dogs — in fact, they are famous for doing so. This makes it all the more important to keep up with your cat’s annual visits to the vet so that your veterinarian can give your cat a thorough once-over and check for any health conditions that they might be hiding.

RELATED STORY: The Importance Of Taking Your Cat To The Vet

MYTH #3: Pets only need to be protected from heartworms in the summer months when mosquitoes are active.

FACT: The American Heartworm Society suggests that all pets — regardless of where they live — should be protected all year round. Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal condition, so make sure that your pet is protected with a heartworm preventative, such as a tablet or topical treatment.

MYTH #4: Dogs eat grass to make themselves throw up.

FACT: This myth gets a lot of play, but the truth is that while eating grass CAN cause vomiting, it is most likely not the reason that your dog is consuming it. Many dogs consume grass because they simply like the taste, because they are bored, or because they have learned that eating grass will start a fun game in which you chase your pal to get them to stop. Eating small amounts of grass shouldn’t be harmful to your dog, but make sure that they aren’t also eating poisonous plants or foxtails, and contact your veterinarian if the habit seems to be getting worse.

RELATED STORY: Dog Vomiting Mucus? Here’s Why, And What You Can Do About It

MYTH #5: Feeding your pet garlic can rid them of tapeworms.

FACT: This myth most likely got started because of garlic’s pungent smell. It has also been suggested that garlic can treat and prevent fleas. The truth is that garlic won’t do a thing for tapeworms or fleas, and in fact, garlic is poisonous to pets and can cause anemia if consumed in large quantities. If you ever notice tapeworms (they look like small grains of rice) in your pet’s stool or near their rear end, contact your veterinarian. They will most likely prescribe a deworming medication. To protect your pet from fleas, use an oral or topical treatment.

MYTH #6: Pets take care of their own dental health, so you don’t need to brush their teeth.

FACT: Pets need all the help they can get when it comes to dental care. Most veterinarians agree that 75% or more of the health problems they see in pets are related to periodontal disease or gum disease, and studies have shown that most animals have signs of dental disease by 3 or 4 years old! While feeding crunchy dry food and giving your pet healthy chews or dental chews like Greenies can help to reduce some tartar buildup, you still need to brush your pet’s teeth. Brushing your pet’s teeth every day is the best course of action, but doing it at least once a week can go a long way in preventing dental problems.

Know any other pet health myths? Leave a comment and let us know, and consider signing up for PetPlus to save on your pet’s health care and more.

Read More...