Wouldn’t it be nice if our pets lived longer? Every day here in Lanoka Harbor, I hear clients say “never again” as they put their furry loved ones to sleep. What if we could add a few extra years to our pets’ lives?

The place to start for all of us (veterinarians, veterinary staff, and owners) is honest communication. What do you expect from us, the veterinary staff, and more importantly, what do you expect from your pet?

If all of us know the role your pet will have in your life, then we can begin to tailor specifics for you and your pet. I have clients whose dogs hunt vs. those clients whose pets are couch warmers and everywhere in between. The lifestyle of your pet can determine how we take care of them.

All pets have one thing in common – examinations. For our pediatric patients, examinations may be every month until puberty. For our adults, once yearly may be sufficient. Our mature patients should be checked out more frequently (usually every 6 months).

Using the exam and conversation as the basis of care, we can expand from there to provide what will keep your pet healthy for as long as possible. We know that clean water, good nutrition, and proper vaccinations have significantly increased life expectancy in us. The same applies to our pets. How they are fed and protected from disease greatly influences their longevity.

Based on lifestyle, we can discuss protective care – heartworm, flea and tick protection, exposure to intestinal parasites, vaccines.

We can discuss preventative care – nutrition is the huge one. Purina did a study that demonstrated fewer calories for a dog added two to three yrs. to their lifetime. Imagine, two to three more years with a beloved pet simply by feeding them appropriately!

Exercise is another aspect of preventative care. The old adage that a tired dog is a good dog is accurate. Exercise tires your dog out, releasing pent-up energy, is great for bonding with your dog over a good walk, and does help your pet maintain his/her fit and trim. Thankfully in Ocean County, we have a dog specific park by Miller Air Park and lots of other parks in which to walk your dog.

Another aspect (which we as veterinarians have largely ignored) of preventative care is genetics. We know now the genome (the genes) of the dog. Purebred dogs all have their use- hunting, show, tracking etc. For our mixed breeds, we can identify what your mixed dog is by using the Wisdom Panel. By knowing the breed, we can identify genetic diseases and treat based on accurate information.

Can I or any veterinarian guarantee you will never say “never again”? No. But by open communication, working with your veterinarian as a partner in your pet’s care, and by using preventative and protective care, we can literally add extra years to your pet’s life.

Give us a call at 609-971-9669 or click here to start the conversation about your pet. We want you to enjoy your pet for as long as possible.

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