Pet Health

Pet Health

We want your pet to be as fit and happy as possible. An understanding of the pet health basics (veterinary care, food, and grooming) ensures your success.

Veterinary Care

Veterinary care is crucial to your pet’s health. At a minimum, take your pet to the vet once a year. During this visit, the vet:

In addition to this once a year visit, consult or visit your vet for any other health or behavioral concerns.


Just as there are a huge variety of pets, there is a huge variety of pet foods. Choose food based on your pet’s specific needs. When doing so, keep in mind:

  • Foods come in a variety of forms, including dry, wet, raw, or freeze-dried. Choose the form best suited to your pet. For example, if your pet has poor dental health, consider a wet food.
  • Read labels and look for quality ingredients such as whole meats, vegetables, fruits, grains, and high-quality sources of dietary fat. Many specialty pet stores stock top-quality foods.
  • Consider your pet’s caloric needs. Puppies, more active pets, and pets living in colder climates need higher calories than senior or low energy pets.
  • Look for allergic reactions. Just like humans, pets have allergies. Watch out for skin problems, diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, and facial swelling.
  • To determine how much and when to feed your pet, check first with your vet. The food’s packaging may also provide guidelines, but be aware that sometimes these instructions cause you to feed too much. Keep an eye out for excess weight gain.
  • Some human foods that might seem like healthy foods can be harmful to our pets. Click here for a list of some of the most dangerous foods for pets.


While your pet does not have to look like a show animal, its basic grooming needs should be attended.


Bathing – Most dogs require bathing about once a month with a dog shampoo. Use a reputable groomer if you don’t want the hassle and mess. If your dog has skin and coat issues, be sure to consult your vet.

Brushing and Hair Cuts – All dogs need to be brushed. The longer or curlier the fur, the more you’ll need to brush it to avoid tangling. For shedding breeds, such as a Golden Retriever, consider a deshedding brush. Dogs with hair, such as a Poodle, need their hair cut every 2-4 weeks.

Allen 188rNail Trimming – Most dogs need their nails trimmed about once a month. There are a variety of tools to help you do this, such as a clipper or a rotary file. It is extremely important not to cut the nail too short or you will hurt your dog. Consult your vet or a reputable groomer for more information.

Ear Cleaning - Dogs, especially those with floppy ears, can trap bacteria or yeast in their ear canal resulting in dirty debris and a bad odor. Regular cleaning with a topical solution, a cotton wipe, and a gentle hand prevents this. Consult your vet or a reputable groomer for more information.

For Cats

Cats groom themselves; however, consider brushing your cat with a fine-toothed comb, pin brush, or slicker brush once a week or so. This cuts down on the number of fur balls a cat has. While brushing, give your cat the once over to check for fur lumps, fleas, ticks, or any other problems. You can also wipe the eyes and ears with a damp piece of soft cotton to check for ear mites or infections.

Financial Help for Veterinary Care

According to the Humane Society of the United States, this is a list of some national organizations worth investigating. Some of these organizations have taken things a step further by posting their own researched lists of breed-specific and disease-specific financial-aid programs. (Most states also have assistance programs in place.) Become familiar now with what is available. If the day comes that your pet needs help, you will at least have a basic understanding of where to look for assistance. [Note: the following list was compiled by]

The Big Hearts Fund (financial assistance for the diagnosis and treatment of canine and feline heart disease):
The Binky Foundation:
Brown Dog Foundation (prescription medications):
Canine Cancer Awareness:
Cats In Crisis:
The Dog & Cat Cancer Fund:
God's Creatures Ministry Veterinary Charity:
Magic Bullet Fund (cancer-specific):
The Mosby Fund:
The Onyx & Breezy Foundation:
Paws 4 A Cure:
Pet Food Bank:
Pet Food Stamps:
The Pet Fund:
Pets of the Homeless (pet food and veterinary care assistance for homeless):
RedRover Relief:
Rose’s Fund:
Shakespeare Animal Fund:
Top Dog Foundation “Bentley Grant”:

Some dog breed-specific veterinary care assistance programs:

Special Needs Dobermans:
Dougal's Helping Paw (Scottish Terriers, West Highland White Terriers and other small, short-legged terriers):
Labrador Harbor:
Labrador Lifeline:
Westimed (West Highland White Terriers):
Pyramedic Trust (Great Pyrenees):

Veterinary care assistance for working/service dogs:

Helping Harley Cancer Treatment Grant:
Assistance Dogs Special Allowance Program: