In celebration of National Love Your Pet Day and American Heart Month, here’s a quick pet-health handout for clients.

It’s National Love Your Pet Day! And it’s American Heart Month! What better way to show your love for your pet AND recognize Heart Month than with three quick tips to help maintain your pet’s heart health (or the health of the place where your pet keeps all that love for you).

Choose Pet Products That Help Maintain Good Oral Health Which Equals Good Heart Health

There’s a reason why some pet foods have been specifically formulated to mechanically or chemically assist in plaque control.

Left unchecked, plaque and tartar buildup can lead to periodontal disease, which can significantly impact the health of organs such as the liver, kidneys and heart.

Dental-health pet foods and treats for dogs include a variety of kibble, rawhide chews, and edible chew treats. Water additives, oral sprays, toothpastes and food additive powders are also available. Similarly, dental-health pet foods for cats include dry foods and edible treats. Oral sprays, toothpastes, wipes and water additives are other options to help keep your cat’s teeth plaque-free.

The Veterinary Oral Health Council evaluates pet dental products for their effectiveness. Your veterinarian can also assist you in deciding which options are right for your pet.

Bear in mind that once tartar has formed, professional scaling and polishing under general anesthesia will be needed.

Make Exercise Part of Your Pet’s Daily Routine

Just as obesity can increase the risk of heart disease and other health problems in humans, obesity in pets dramatically increases the risk of heart disease, diabetes and many types of cancer. Moreover, research reveals that moderate excess weight alone can shorten a pet’s life expectancy by as much as two years.

Healthy daily exercise helps your pet stay trim, fit and healthy. While walking remains a cornerstone activity for canine fitness, you can also play a game of fetch. Keep activities appropriate to your pet’s age, body condition and state of health, and if you’re unsure about the suitability of an activity, consult your veterinarian.

Cats are designed to engage in short bursts of activity rather than long sessions. Games involving stalking, and hunting are typically irresistible to cats and their predatory instincts. The use of fishing-rod toys and laser pointers can encourage aerobic activity, and the use of things like puzzle feeders and interactive toys can encourage cat activity when they’re alone.

Take Your Pet for Routine Checkups

To prevent heart health problems, humans can call their doctors for regular health checkups to address problems before they go too far. However, pets can’t tell their owners when they’re feeling unwell. Pets can only display signs of heart disease like fatigue and poor appetite and rely on their owners to understand the signs and take them to their veterinarian for an examination.

The American Veterinary Medical Association, the American Animal Hospital Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners all recommend at least one veterinary visit annually for preventative care.

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