In celebration of Love Your Pet Day and American Heart Month, here’s a quick client handout to help them maintain their pet’s overall health.

February 20th is 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 overall health.


Choose Pet Products That Help Maintain Good Oral Health

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

When left unchecked, plaque and tartar buildup can lead to periodontal disease, which can have an effect on organs such as the kidneys, liver, 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 people, obesity in pets can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and many types of cancer. Moreover, research reveals that excess weight can shorten a pet’s life expectancy by as much as two and a half years.

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, go for a run or take him swimming. 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 puzzle feeders and interactive toys can encourage cat activity and stimulation when they’re alone.


Take Your Pet for Regular Wellness Exams

To prevent heart health problems, people go to their doctors for regular health checkups, addressing problems before they go too far. However, pets don’t have a voice. They can only rely on their owners to take them for regular wellness exams, allowing their veterinarian to detect early warning signs or subtle changes that are suggestive of an underlying issue.

Your veterinarian is the best person to advise you on the frequency of wellness checks for your pet based on your pet’s age, lifestyle and health status.