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11 important ways to take good care of your pet

Written by Napo HQ
22nd Apr 2022
5 mins read
Feeding your pet a healthy diet, vaccinating them, providing regular antiparasitic treatment, and attending routine health and dental checks are important to keep your pet healthy and spot any problems early. Preventative health care like this also tends to be much cheaper than treatment. 
If your pet is injured or unwell, pet insurance will cover the cost of vet bills. Failing to keep up with annual health checks and vaccinations, however, may affect your ability to claim.
Pet ownership means taking on the responsibility of ensuring your pets are well looked after, and every owner wants to give their pet the best quality of life.
Whether you have a cat or a dog, many of their basic needs are the same, and the steps to keep them in good health are similar too.
Here are 11 important ways to take care of your pet that will help to keep your furry friends happy, healthy, and living longer lives.

Healthy diet and hydration

A healthy balanced diet and hydration are key to providing your pet’s body with everything it needs to survive, grow, support their immune system, and stay healthy.
Make sure you feed your pet a species and age-appropriate “complete” diet that provides all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. Your pets should always have access to fresh water too to prevent dehydration.

Regular exercise

Whether you have a working dog or a “lazy” lapdog, an indoor cat or one that can roam, all animals need the opportunity to exercise. It improves muscle tone, prevents obesity, and provides mental stimulation.

Mental stimulation

Mental stimulation and enrichment can be provided in dozens of different ways, including playing with and exercising with your pet or simply spending time with them. It helps to improve their mental well-being, but it also prevents problem behaviours.
Some problem behaviours can cause accidents or injury to your pets, like destructiveness or self-mutilation. This means looking after your pet’s mental well-being can protect their physical health too.

Regular grooming

The grooming requirements of your pet will vary according to their breed.
All dogs need an occasional brush and should have a bath at least once every 3 months to wash any dirt and contaminants from their fur.
Although you shouldn’t need to bathe your cat, brushing them every day or so will remove loose hair and prevent hairballs.
You should also trim your dog’s claws every month to prevent them from overgrowing. Cats don’t need their claws clipped, but they do need scratching posts to keep their claws healthy.
Ideally, you’ll also clean your pet’s teeth every day or a few times a week to keep them clean and prevent gum disease.

Annual health and dental checks

Because our pets can’t say when something is wrong - and are remarkably good at tolerating illness - annual health checks with the vet help to spot issues early on.
As well as an annual health check, your pet should have routine dental check-ups too. Again, this helps to catch problems like gum disease early when it can still be treated, and before it has the chance to become a serious problem.

Monthly flea and tick treatment

A flea infestation will cause your pet serious itchiness and discomfort, more so if they’re allergic. Ticks are also uncomfortable and can carry infectious diseases. Monthly flea and tick prevention will prevent these pesky parasites from feasting on your pet and invading your home.

Worming treatment

As well as fleas and ticks, dogs and cats can pick up a number of parasitic worms. Regular worming treatment is vital to prevent infestation and kill off worms before they can mature and cause illness and internal damage.

Regular vaccinations

Vaccinations protect your pet from a number of contagious diseases that could otherwise cause serious illness or prove fatal to your furry friend.
Your puppy or kitten will receive several vaccinations when they’re young, but they will need booster jabs every few years to maintain their protection. If you miss a booster, you might have to start the original course of vaccines again. Which also means paying for all the jabs again!
Your vet might give your pet their annual health check when they have their booster vaccination.

Consider neutering

Spaying and neutering aren't mandatory, but they’re worth considering to prevent unwanted pet pregnancy and protect your pet against certain ailments. For example, it can protect female dogs and cats from pyometra or remove the risk of certain cancers (depending on the procedure.) Find out more about neutering from Louisa the vet.

Common sense and supervision

Cats are curious and dogs are nosy, and they might investigate and ingest something they shouldn’t. Make sure anything potentially toxic is kept out of your pet’s reach.
For dogs, this also means keeping them supervised and under control outside. Keep them on a lead when there are any potential dangers, like traffic. If your dog is off-lead they should have solid recall for their safety. You can find out more about when dogs can be on or off lead in this handy guide.

Comprehensive insurance

Hopefully, by following these steps you can keep your pet healthy and won’t have to visit the vet too often. But accidents and unforeseen illnesses can happen. Having comprehensive pet insurance means you won’t have to worry about covering the cost of vet bills and can afford to give your pet whatever treatment they need.

Why it’s important to take care of your pet

All owners want to give their pets the longest, happiest, and healthiest life they can. These 11 steps help you to take good care of your pet and keep them as happy and healthy as possible.
But when accidents and unexpected illnesses do occur, you need to make sure you can cover the cost of vet bills. Making sure you’re taking care of your pet not only helps to keep them happy and healthy, but it also means you’re eligible to claim when the unexpected does happen.
Regular checks don’t just help to spot problems early. It makes it much easier for you to claim for a new condition because you’ll know when it started.

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