Boost your pet’s health with these preventive measures

(BPT) – Taking active, preventive measures to support your health is one of the most important things you can do to ward off serious illness. You eat right, exercise, brush your teeth and make sure to get plenty of sleep, all to keep your body running at its very best.

But did you know that preventive health is important not only for you but also for the lifelong health of your pets? Instituting preventive health measures for your pets helps keep them in top physical shape and live healthier, happier lives. Here are three key areas of preventive health for your pet.

Annual checkups

You know you should see your doctor once a year for your annual checkup and the same applies for your pet. In fact, an annual checkup may be even more important for them than it is for you. “Dogs and cats age much faster than people so missing one yearly appointment for your pet could be comparable to missing five annual checkups for yourself,” says Dr. Ellen Lowery, associate director of U.S. Veterinary and Professional Affairs at Hill’s Pet Nutrition. The best way to prevent disease is to schedule regular checkups with your veterinarian. Bringing your pet for an annual health examination allows your veterinarian to assess any risk factors and spot problems at their earliest stages. This will help your pet live a happier, healthier and longer life. 

Get plenty of exercise

Exercise has numerous health benefits not only for your body but for your pet as well. If you have a family dog, walking him or her twice a day for 15 minutes is generally advised. The number and length of walks may increase or decrease depending on the breed, health and age of your dog. Make sure to brush and bathe your dog as well, especially if a recent walk has brought him or her in contact with tall grassy or forested areas or involved wading or swimming. Cats, of course, do not need to be walked, but that doesn’t mean you can disregard their exercise. Engage your cat in active play, whether it is chasing a stuffed toy at the end of a stick or batting a ball of catnip around the kitchen. Either way, your cat is being active and that is good for his or her overall health.

Offer a nutritious diet

“Proper nutrition is a cornerstone of pet health,” Dr. Lowery says. “Pet parents should choose a quality pet food that provides optimal nutrition for their pet’s specific life stage and activity or special needs.” Your veterinary healthcare team is your best resource for selecting the right food to feed your pet and will also provide education and guidance on the how much and when to feed your pet for optimal health. For additional information on helping your pet achieve a healthy weight, visit Healthy Weight Calculator at

Preventive care is just as important for your pet as it is for you. The good news is that the same preventive care principles that benefit you also benefit your pets. You can take the right preventive approach for your pet with annual checkups, daily exercise and a nutritious diet, and both you and your pet will be feeling even better.

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