So far, this series of blog posts have covered:

#1 – Have a financial plan to cover the costs of veterinary care
#2 – Have a thorough physical examination done every year
#3 – Feed really good food
#4 – Vaccinate only for what is really needed and only as often as necessary
#5 – Don’t let them get fat
#6 – Price-shop medications, supplements, and special needs foods
#7 – Take Care of Their Teeth!
#8 – Have Blood and Urine Tests Done Yearly Once They Reach Middle Age 
#9 – Keep Them Parasite Free

Our tenth and final topic may or may not seem obvious

#10 – Keep your cats indoors and your dogs under your control while outdoors

Sunshine, fresh air, socialization, and vigorous exercise are beneficial to our pets. However, most infectious diseases, fleas and ticks, intestinal parasites, fight wounds and other injuries (with all the suffering and expense!), are virtually eliminated simply by keeping your pet indoors or under strict control when outdoors.

Cats in particular are prone to getting into fights with other cats or hit by vehicles when outdoors and they will certainly pick up fleas! If you feel strongly that your cat will live a better overall life with some “fresh air experiences”, I suggest they be on a harness and leash under your strict control while outside and that you apply a monthly dose of Cheristin for flea control. Better still would be a screened porch or deck that can provide the sights, sounds and smells of the outdoors with none of the risk! Indoor cats can also be exercised using toys, laser pointers, and other devices.

Most dogs spend some time outdoors and this is a good thing as long as they are kept under your control and on monthly Heartgard Plus and Nexgard for internal and external parasite prevention. Though socialization with other dogs is a very good thing remember, dog parks are one of the most likely places for your dog to get sick or injured! From infections tracheobronchitis (“kennel cough”) to fleas, worms, fight wounds and other injuries, we see a regular parade of dogs at our clinic who are suffering some sort of malady from having gone to a dog park. Instead, find a family member or friend who has a dog you trust and introduce yours to theirs in a neutral, calm, safe environment. In most cases, they will soon become BFF’s!

Keeping your dog or cat as safe as you can from the hazards of outdoor life (without placing them in a giant hamster ball!) will save them a lot of grief and you a lot of coin!

– Dr. Chris Wilson