Adopting a pet is a commitment to taking care of that pet throughout their life span. A dog’s average lifespan is 10-13 years and a cat’s average life span is 10-15 years. That means bringing a pet into your life could be a decade-long companionship, but also a commitment on the owner’s end to ensure wellness and preventative health care for that animal to their best ability.
Why is preventative health care so important?
No matter if you are adopting a young or old pet, there are still going to be care costs at every age. Unfortunately, animal care costs can be very expensive and add up very fast when additional things like testing are needed. Pet owners are often not prepared for these costs and it can become a burden on their financial situation and even impact their family.
It is too common that an animal runs into health issues and families must make the decision to give up the pet because it can’t afford the care. We see all too often that animals who struggle with allergies, diseases, and other health problems being surrendered because of care cost. Even those who truly love their pet have found themselves in this unfortunate situation where they believe a shelter or rescue can provide better care.
One of the easiest ways to avoid ever being in this heartbreaking situation is to take practice preventative health care. Just like human beings, it is important for animals to get routine health check-ups.
Veterinary check-ups are especially important for animals because they cannot talk and tell us they are unwell.
It is recommended that pet owners establish veterinary care for their pets immediately after adoption to get all their vaccinations. For puppies or kittens, pet owners will need to bring in their pet several times throughout the first few weeks for vaccinations.
After 6 months of age and all their vaccinations, it is recommended to bring your pet in for an annual examination. The American Association of Animal Hospitals says pets are more likely to get sick if they don’t visit a veterinarian annually. During this, they will get booster shots as needed, and be checked for any other concerning issues.
During an annual examination, a veterinary professional will do a full health screen, physical check-up, and discuss any issues such as nutrition, exercise, and behavior. They will listen to their heart, lungs, look at their eyes, ears, and teeth, and make suggestions for care. For dogs especially, pet owners should choose a heartworm prevention method. Depending on where you live, your pet may need extra things like flea and tick prevention.
The vets will run blood work to ensure their body is functioning properly and make sure there aren’t any underlying issues such as cancer. Unfortunately, six million new cancer diagnoses are made in dogs each year, according to the Animal Cancer Foundation. This is a sad statistic, but if diseases like cancer are caught early on, treatment options are better.
What are the costs associated with preventative health care?
Preventative health care can become costly, especially when shots, bloodwork, and dental cleanings are involved. It is smart to consider pet insurance plans or wellness programs that space out payments over time and ease the costs of routine care.
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