We all want the very best for our pets. Our vision is to support, educate and enlighten owners on preventative healthcare. With over 40 years of experience working in veterinary practice, Sarah and I have seen many cases where earlier action, intervention or homecare routine could have saved years of discomfort or suffering along with the heartbreak of losing a much-loved pet.
So, what can we do to catch any health concerns early, slow progression and even prevent some forms of disease? We came up with a quick and simple, stress-free plan to follow at home…Once a month, weigh your pet, examine your pet tip to toe, and finally check their teeth plus ideally take a picture from the side. If you have a pet remember WET’s!
Now, let’s take you through the routine one step at a time. Remember to pop a reminder in your phone calendar too!
Weight – How To Check For Your Pet’s Body Condition
A recent survey showed 76% of owners were unsure if their pet was overweight and 62% had never asked for weight management advice. It is estimated that 8.5 million UK pets are currently overweight. Aim to weigh your pet every month and make a record of their weight. This will easily highlight any weight loss or gain, that you may not notice visually for some time. Weight loss can be an early indicator of many diseases. These extra tidbits of information can help your vet gather information, such as whether the weight loss has happened over many months, or much more acutely.
How to weigh your pet at home
For cats and small dogs, the bathroom scales are ideal
- Weigh yourself and record your weight.
- Pick up your pet and record the combined weight of you and your pet.
- Subtract your weight from the combined weight to get your pet’s current weight.
For larger dogs, you will find a set of walk-on floor scales at your local veterinary practice available to use. Give your surgery a ring to check their current accessibility.
Body Condition Scores
For greater insight into whether your pet is a healthy weight, underweight or overweight you may like to look at body condition scoring using the chart produced by the Rose Park Vet Surgery below.
Examine – A Top to Toe Check of Your Pet
Choose a quiet time when your pet is relaxed and willing to be handled. Take each step slowly, and if your pet becomes distressed STOP. You can always try again later. The aim is not to cause any resentment in handling. In the long term, you could have a particular comfy area, or blanket chosen on which to perform the exam and always reward your pet with a treat when complete. In time they will associate these ‘cues’ with a positive reward.
Carrying out the examination:
- Look for any discharge or redness from the eyes and nose.
- Note any discharge or scabs in the ears.
- Check the skin for any scabs, wounds, hair loss, or fleas and ticks. You will need to gently part the fur to do this.
- Run your hand over your pet to feel for any lumps, swellings or sore areas.
- Check the length of your pet’s nails, making sure they are not overgrown or rubbing against the pad. You can watch our short tutorials on cutting your cat’s nails and cutting your dog’s nails via the links.
- Make a record of anything you notice so you can pass this on to your veterinarian.
Teeth – A Monthly Check To Keep Your Pet Smiling
Our pets can suffer from a whole host of oral care issues: rotten teeth, diseased gums and oral tumours to name but a few. It may shock you to know that 80% of dogs and cats over the age of 3 years suffer from dental disease! The sooner we spot any potential problems, the sooner treatment and intervention can begin. Not all pets will allow an oral exam at home, but if your pet previously allowed you to check and now resists this could be a sign of a new oral problem that needs the attention of your vet.
How to open your pet’s mouth
- Gently tilt your pet’s head back slightly
- Place a thumb on one side and a finger on the other side of the mouth where the upper and lower jaw meet.
- Apply gentle pressure and your pet should open their mouth
What to look for when checking your pet’s mouth
- The presence of bad breath
- Tartar and plaque build-up on the teeth
- Red or inflamed gums
- Any sore areas or wounds inside the mouth
- Any lumps or swellings – if possible check under the tongue too
If possible and with the assistance of another person, take two well-lit photos of your pet’s mouth, one from each side. Don’t forget to get the molar teeth (big teeth at the back of the mouth) on each photo. You might need to gently pull the lip away to expose all of the molar teeth. The photos can be very useful to send to your vet if you have a concern or to keep a record to refer back to.
Here is a brief video of Sarah carrying out a WETS exam on our cat.
What Should I Do If I Spot A Problem During Any of These Steps?
Keep a record each month of all your gathered information, weight, pictures of teeth and any abnormalities.
Contact your veterinarian if you notice any changes or have concerns. You may require a trip to the clinic for a check over or they may ask you to email over some images or video recordings first. If you do need to visit your vet remember to take any notes and images along with you.
How Else Can I Help My Pet To Stay Healthy?
Know Your Pet’s Normal! If you are in tune with how often your pet passes urine and faeces, how much they eat, drink and sleep in a day and their usual level of mobility you are more likely to notice subtle changes which may indicate a problem. With many progressive diseases such as kidney conditions or arthritis, the sooner we can diagnose and begin treatment the better the prognosis for your pet.
Preventative health and routine checks both at home and with your veterinarian are a great way to keep your pet happy and healthy.
Here are our top ten tips for responsible pet ownership:
- Before bringing any new pet home do your research.
- Keep vaccinations up to date including boosters
- Daily toothbrushing (check out our dental care blog)
- Worm and flea control
- Life long insurance
- Grooming – keep your pet’s coat and nails healthy
- Monthly weight check – read why in our weight management blog
- Training and exercise
- Register with a veterinary clinic and attend regular checks as directed by your vet
Our Future Goals To Support Happy, Healthy Pets
WETS will form the basis of our KISSCatCare and KISSDogCare initiatives.
KISS will keep it super simple, to care for your pet. More details to follow, so stay tuned to our blogs and social streams. We are continuing to create, test and improve our product range with an eco-friendly ethos. Look out for our new bamboo toothbrushes coming soon!
If you have found our pointers on improving your pet’s health helpful please share with your pet-loving friends too. Help us grow our tribe of Petstoreo pet health heroes. 2 Vets: 1 Mission Happy, Healthy Pets!
You may like to browse our collection of vet designed products via our online store. Just follow the links Petstoreo for cats and Petstoreo for dogs. You will find our puzzle bowls, nail clippers, dental kits and much more.