Know Your Animal’s Needs
One of the easiest ways to end neglect is to make sure that you are providing your companion animals with all of life's basic comforts, including veterinary care, food, water, and exercise.
Veterinary care must be tailored to an individual animal's needs and should include the following:
- A yearly physical exam, possibly more frequently based on the animal's age and health.
- Routine blood testing based upon age and health.
- Routine dental cleanings.
- Routine external and internal parasite exams.
- Vaccinations as directed by your veterinarian.
- All companion animals should be spayed or neutered. In addition to controlling overpopulation, sterilization will reduce the chance that the animal will develop certain types of cancers and the animal will be less likely to roam.
- All animals should have access to fresh water at all times.
- Feed your animal according to the guidelines recommended by your veterinarian. Avoid feeding "table food" and excess treats as these may lead to obesity. (If you feel that you must give your companion some "table food" and treats, make sure that they make up less than 10% of the animal's daily food intake.) Your veterinarian will be able to advise you as to the nutritional needs of your companion animal at the yearly physical appointment.
- Bathe and groom your animal as required by the animal's coat.
- Trim nails periodically.
- Participate in basic obedience training for dogs to keep their minds stimulated.
- Exercise your companion animal.
- It is important to understand that some behavioral issues with companion animals may be caused by medical problems. For example, hypothyroidism in dogs has been linked to aggression. Once the animal receives treatment for hypothyroidism, the aggression may be resolved.
If you can't afford routine veterinary services for your companion animal, you may qualify for WHS's veterinary clinic for low-income households.