Keeping Your Pet Healthy

Keeping Your Pet Healthy

Basic Care

Food & Water – Clean food and water bowls daily, making sure they have fresh food and fresh water. Most pet food bags give feeding guidelines that help prevent under and over feeding. If you are uncertain about how much to feed your pet, your veterinarian can also give you feeding guidelines.

Shelter – Pets are part of the family. Keeping them inside ensures they are safe, less likely to run off, and not annoying neighbors. In addition, you will have greater opportunity to bond with your pet and enjoy their companionship.

Pets that are kept outside must have adequate shelter for all seasons. There are also local chaining ordinances that limit the amount of time an animal can be kept on a chain. For example, in the City of Raleigh an animal cannot be chained for more than 3 hours in a 24-hour period.

Exercise – Making sure your pet gets plenty of enrichment activity and exercise is important to their health and also reduces behavioral issues.


Veterinarian exam

It is important to consult a licensed veterinary doctor about your pet’s health care. Each veterinary clinic has different protocols and stocks vaccinations from different providers, meaning vet #1 might have a 1 year FVRVP vaccination vs vet #2 might use a slightly more expensive 3 year FVRCP vaccination. Talk to the veterinary doctor about their recommendations and protocol, if you have questions.


Rabies – All pets are legally required to have a rabies vaccination. This is because rabies is an infectious disease that affects all mammals, including humans. It is 99.9999% deadly in untreated humans and 100% deadly in unvaccinated pets.

Basic Cat Vaccinations


  • FVRCP – Protects your cat from feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia (distemper).
  • FeLV – Protects your cat from the feline leukemia virus.

Basic Dog Vaccinations


  • Bordetella – If you have heard the term, Kennel Cough, you’ve heard of Bordetella and know the disease is spread through sneezing and coughing. Dogs that go to the dog park, kennel, doggie day care, etc … are at higher risk of catching the disease.
  • DHPP – This vaccination is frequently called a “Distemper” vaccination. It has nothing to do with controlling an animals temper and everything to do with several highly contagious and deadly disease. The vaccine protects against distemper, hepatitis, parvo, and parainfluenza.

Prevention of Common Pet Ailments

Both fleas and heartworms can cause pet health problems and even lead to death. Ask your veterinarian about preventative options.

Fleas – Not all flea medication is created equally. Chemicals that are deemed safe for dogs are not necessarily deemed safe for cats. Some only kill fleas, while others include deworming and heartworm preventative. Some only kill fleas when  after a bite, others kill fleas on contact. Your veterinarian can help you select a flea medication that is right for your pet and budget.

Heartworm – Heartworms are transmitted to dogs and cats when a mosquito harboring microfilaria (baby worms) bites them. The worms move the the heart and lungs eventually leading to death.

Your veterinarian will do a simple blood test to check your dog for heartworms prior to putting him on preventative medication. This is because the medicine can cause issues on dogs testing positive.

It is important to know that even if your pet is kept indoors monthly preventative is necessary. Since mosquitos are tiny they can still get into the house and bite your pet. Visit the American Heartworm Association to find out more about heartworms and how prevalent they are in North Carolina.


Microchip – You can get your pet microchipped at your veterinarian, at a microchip clinic or through the SPCA of Wake County’s Chip for Change program. Microchips help to ensure your pet is returned home, in the event that they get lost.

Read more about microchips and how to prepare in case your pet gets lost.