Your pets are members of your family. They need the same kind of care that children need. They’re unable to advocate for themselves or properly express how they’re feeling. This puts the responsibility on you, as a pet owner, to pre-emptively meet their needs.
Understanding the basic needs of your animal and putting together a plan that will help you meet those needs on a regular basis will ensure the long term wellness of your pet.
The Difference Between Insurance, Wellness Plans, and Wellness Schedules
You can purchase pet insurance or a pet wellness plan for your animal. Pet insurance works a lot like human health insurance. It’s comprehensive and involves the same deductibles and reimbursements involved in people care.
Pet wellness plans are like pet insurance, but they’re typically less expensive. They also cover less than pet insurance. Things like veterinary procedures or medicine aren’t involved in a pet wellness plan.
There’s also a personal wellness schedule that you can manage yourself. If you have your own wellness schedule in place, you’re responsible for paying the full amount of every procedure. Depending on the veterinary professionals and pet wellness experts you choose, this may be more or less cost effective than using a wellness plan.
Before you sign up for a pet wellness plan, it helps to know what the total cost of wellness will be for the year. If you’re saving, get the wellness plan. If you aren’t, pay out of pocket.
When comparing costs, you may determine that pet insurance is a better value. It covers most of the same things that a wellness plan will cover, but provides additional coverage for unexpected events. If your dog swallows a toad or eats a sharp stick, the resulting medical procedures won’t be covered under a wellness plan.
Weigh the pros and cons, consider the needs of your pet, and look over your budget. Choose the option that works best for you.
The 5 Necessary Components of a Wellness Plan for Your Pet
Whether you purchase a wellness plan or set one up for yourself and your pet, there are five core components you’ll need to consider. These address the basic needs of your pet over the course of their lives, and they require regular tending to.
1. Pet Exams
Your pet needs at least one routine physical exam per year. In certain circumstances, some pets may require two. Pets may occasionally require behavioral exams. If you’re noticing abnormal patterns in your pet’s behavior, a behavioral exam can help to identify and address the cause.
Behavioral exams aren’t usually needed. A lot of the time, it’s easy to determine the cause of abnormal behavior on your own. Maybe your cat found where you put the hidden stash of catnip, or your dog is acting funny because lost his favorite toy. Talk to your vet about whether or not your pet may need a behavioral exam.
2. Pet Testing
Heartworm tests and fecal tests are necessary to monitor your pet’s health. It takes about six months for a heartworm test to show a positive result in infected animals. Testing twice a year assures that heartworm is caught on time. Fecal tests can detect parasites in the digestive tract. Unless you see something worrying when your pet goes to the bathroom, a fecal test is only necessary once a year.
3. Necessary Grooming
If you like to give your dog special haircuts, it’s more for your benefit than it is for your dog’s. Special grooming sessions aren’t necessary for the health of your pet. Just brush your pet to avoid matting and trim the fur that gets in the way of their eyes. You can do this at home.
Nail clipping and flea treatments are necessary. Some people are fortunate enough to have a pet that copes well with at-home flea baths and nail clipping sessions. Flea baths are only necessary for animals with fleas or animals who have been exposed to other animals with fleas. Baths can be given once weekly, along with thorough combings.
Nails grow at different rates, but on average, most dogs and cats need their nails trimmed every three to four weeks. The more often you trim, the better off you’ll be. Frequent trimming makes each successive trimming easier, not just because the animal gets used to it, but because the blood supply to the nail retreats within to the paw as a response. You’re much less likely to clip too close to the quick as time goes on.
Your dog and cat will need core vaccines and possibly non-core vaccines. Your veterinarian will be able to advise you of which non-core vaccines are necessary for your animal and work to establish a vaccine schedule for your pet. Some vaccines require multiple doses over the period of several weeks. Most shots need booster shots one year after the initial vaccine, and three years after that.
Vaccines can be tricky to keep up with. If you set it all up with your veterinarian, all you need to do is mark the dates on your calendar and schedule or confirm the appointments when the dates come up. It’s much easier to orchestrate them simultaneously.
5. One-Time Wellness Services
Microchipping your animal allows you to safely locate and reunite with your animal if they ever were to become lost or taken by another person. The microchip allows your dog or cat to be positively identified as yours. If your pet is an escape artist, using a microchip in conjunction with a GPS collar tracker is your best bet for assuring the animal’s safe return.
Spaying or neutering your pet is a one-time wellness service of crucial importance. Many people believe they don’t need to spay or neuter their animals if all the animals in their home are of the same gender, or if they’re the only animal of their kind in the home.
Cats in heat will find a way out of the house to get pregnant or to impregnate other cats. Dogs will jump fences or chase down other dogs at the park. Intact animals have their urges. These urges don’t necessarily go away after you’ve spayed or neutered your pet, but they’re rendered useless. Let them try all they want — you won’t wind up with a litter of babies you’ll be responsible for caring for or rehoming.
Wellness Extends Past Your Plan
Managing your pet’s health needs is an important part of wellness, but it isn’t the only thing that keeps your pet well. Healthy treats, fun runs, socializing with other animals, and even CBD tinctures can help to promote your pet’s wellness.
VETCBD is here to help. Our team has over 40 years of combined veterinary experience, and we’ve formulated a CBD extract with your pets in mind. VETCBD’s tincture helps to support your dog’s regular GI health while promoting calmness and supporting joint mobility. Our tincture is third party triple lab tested to assure its quality. We only want the best for your pets, and we know you feel the same way.