We all want our dogs to live their happiest and healthiest lives – but sometimes, even the most well-meaning owners don’t always do what’s best.
Dr Kirsten Ronngren, expert resident veterinarian for pet insurance brand, ManyPets, recently spoke at DogFest offering her top tips.
Talking on behalf of multiple veterinarians, Dr Ronngren shared the five most common things vets wish owners knew about their dog’s health.
From myths about old age to warnings about being overweight, here are the key facts pet parents should get to know.
More and more pets are growing old these days – and to many people’s surprise, they have very good qualities of life.
Dr Ronngren told The Mirror : “Just because your pet is getting older doesn’t mean that automatically things become a problem.
“Pets are living longer, happier lives these days thanks to dedicated owners and ever evolving medicine.
“Slowing down in older pets isn’t necessarily normal, and can indicate things like poorly controlled pain that needs addressing.
“Similarly, many people think that being older means general anaesthesia for things like dental cleanings or growth removals isn’t safe, which in many pets is actually not the case. Older pets can do very well under anaesthesia.”
Dental cleaning is different from at home
In the same way that a hygienist can polish your teeth better than you, vets have the tools to effectively clean your pet’s teeth better than you.
Dr Ronngren said: “When your vet recommends a dental cleaning at their office, it is because putting your pet under general anaesthesia is the best and safest way your vet can get a fully comprehensive oral examination done.
“It’s also the best way to clean your pet’s teeth and address any disease because we use the same high quality equipment that human dentists do, like electric scalers/polishers and digital dental X-rays.”
Regular vet visits are so important
Taking your pet for regular check-ups at the vet ensures you catch health conditions and problems early.
Dr Ronngren furthered: “Because animals can’t explicitly tell us when something’s up, regular visits to the vet help catch things sooner rather than later.
“It allows your vet to put their educated eyes, ears, and hands to use to help make sure we can keep your pet healthy as long as possible.”
Your pet being overweight is asking for trouble
“Just like humans, pets over their ideal body weight are at higher risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic disease, and joint problems – among others,” Dr Ronngren said.
“Extra fat tissue releases many substances into the body that cause inflammation, meaning overweight pets are consistently carrying around chronic instigators of inflammation.
“Some studies have shown that keeping dogs at their ideal body weight or just under can potentially add one to two years to their lifespan.”
Socialising doesn’t mean letting them run wild
“Behavioural problems are one of the most common reasons that dogs are surrendered to rescues and humane societies,” Dr Ronngren said.
“Addressing training and socialising your dog appropriately is one of the best ways to create a healthy bond with your dog, and is helpful toward helping them thrive in all sorts of situations.
“This includes introductions to new people, locations, and experiences in a way they feel safe and are rewarded for positive behaviours.
“Being consistent when it comes to training and socialisation helps build calmer, well adjusted dogs.”