NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

December 14, 2012

Paw Prints: Don't forget to make a New Year's resolution for your pet too

(Continued)

4. Prevent pesky parasites. No one likes to be bitten by bugs. Preventing fleas, ticks, heartworms and intestinal parasites is easier and safer than ever. Ask your veterinarian for guidance. Not only will Fido and Fluffy be healthier and more comfortable, pet parasite prevention will help protect your family, too. Some pet parasites are zoonotic; that means they can spread to people. Children are especially susceptible.

5. Learn more. Everyone appreciates a good education. You can expand Fido’s and Fluffy’s vocabulary by talking to them. Also be expressive with your face and body language. Dogs can read 70 to 80 different human facial expressions. So if you’re delighted with something your pet just did, let him know.

6. Brush your teeth, and your pets’ teeth, too. Yes, Fido and Fluffy can be trained not only to tolerate this daily routine, but actually to enjoy it, too. Pets are prone to painful gingivitis, periodontal disease and infected teeth just as we are. Daily home dental care helps keep their kisses fresh. Use only soft-bristled toothbrushes and toothpaste made for pets. Favorite flavors include poultry and seafood. Yummy.

7. Have regular dental check-ups. We have our teeth checked every six months. Fido and Fluffy should typically be checked annually. Schedule an appointment with a board-certified veterinary dentist, or call a veterinarian who has a special interest in dentistry.

8. Remove choking hazards. We know to keep small objects away from young children. In this regard, pets never grow up. Pets of any age will swallow objects that can get stuck in their throats or intestines. Cats are endlessly enchanted with string, which can be life-threatening if swallowed. Hard chew toys, such as marrow bones, commonly fracture dogs’ teeth.

9. Address those aches and pains. Don’t postpone visiting your doctor if you’re not feeling well. And watch Fido or Fluffy for clues that something is not right.They may be asking for help if their appetite or thirst changes, if bathroom habits change, if they don’t greet you at the door like they used to or if they have less pep in their stride during a walk.

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