Everyone loves their pets but not everyone is aware of what their pet needs from them to keep them happy and healthy long into their pet’s senior years. Leading veterinary experts in animal health, welfare, and behavior invite you to take each of the essential actions highlighted during National Pet Week® that are vital to achieving a Lifetime of Love.
Choose well, commit for life
Select the pet that’s right for your family’s lifestyle, and make a commitment to that pet for its life. Even if you have already welcomed a pet into your home, your veterinarian can help you better understand the social and healthcare needs of your individual pet.
Socialize now. New doesn’t have to be scary.
Learn about how to appropriately prepare your pet to enjoy a variety of interactions with other animals, people, places and activities. Everyone will be more comfortable!
Exercise body. Exercise mind.
With an estimated 52.7% of dogs and 57.9% cats in the United States considered overweight or obese, and humans plagued by this issue as well, the AVMA encourages pets and their owners to get regular exercise—together! This not only improves cardiovascular health, maintains a healthy weight, and supports good mental health for both owner and pet, but it strengthens the human-animal bond. For tips on walking, running, or starting another exercise program with your pet, visit avma.org/Walking.
Step it Up! is Surgeon General Vivek Murthy’s new initiative to promote walking. The program encourages brisk walking to reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes in people. Dog owners know there is no better motivator for a walk than their canine companion. Recent scientific studies show that dog owners may get more exercise and are less likely to be obese than those who didn’t own or walk a dog. Owners that walk their dog also had greater mobility within their homes. Other studies have shown that all pets, not just dogs, have been shown to lower heart rates and blood pressure as well as promote quicker recovery times from stressful events.
Love your pet? See your vet!
Everybody love’s their pet, yet 53.9 percent of cat owners and 48.6 percent of dog owners do not take their pet to the veterinarian unless it is visibly sick or injured. Pets often hide signs of illness. Regular check-ups are vital to catching health problems early. Not only can early treatment mean better health for your pet, it can also save money.
Pet population control: Know your role.
Do your part to prevent pet overpopulation. Talk to your veterinarian about when you should have your pet spayed or neutered. Avoid unplanned breeding through spay/neuter, containment or managed breeding. To learn more, visit the AVMA webpage on spaying and neutering your pet.
Emergencies happen. Be prepared.
Include your pets in your family’s emergency plan. The AVMA offers a step-by-step guide to assembling emergency kits and plans for a variety of pets and animals.
Give them a lifetime of love
Thanks to better care, pets are living longer now than they ever have before – but as pets get older, they need extra care and attention. Regular veterinary examinations can detect problems in older pets before they become advanced or life-threatening, and improve the chances of a longer and healthier life for your pet. Visit the AVMA’s special page for senior pets to find out what is ‘normal’ and what may signal a reason for concern about an aging pet. Contrary to popular belief, dogs do not age at a rate of seven human years for each year in dog years. Download the AVMA PetsAgeFaster chart to check how your pet’s real age compares with yours.