VCA Animal Care Center of Sonoma County
Published: Jan 30, 2013

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One of the downsides of pet ownership is that dogs and cats have much shorter life spans than their human companions. Pet loss is inevitable, but there are certain ways you can help your pets live long, healthy lives. Here are a four measures you can take that could very well extend the life of the canine or feline members of your family.

1. Regular checkups at the vet
You may think you only need to take your dog to the vet when he's showing signs of pain in dogs or other illnesses, but the reality is that all animals should be brought into one of your nearby vet clinics for checkups at least twice a year. Not all animal illnesses carry visible clinical signs, and cats or dogs can sometimes be very stoic rather than show you that they're not feeling well. A vet may be able to detect a pet health problem that you missed, either by analyzing blood or urine samples or simply by using his or her professional eye to look over the animal. If the vet does spot a medical issue, he or she will be able to prescribe medicine to help fight off the illness.

2. Plenty of exercise
For most pet owners, it's fairly easy to regulate their dog's or cat's diet. However, diet alone won't help prevent obesity in dogs or cats. Exercise is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle for both humans and animals, so make sure your pet is moving around every single day. Dogs and cats like to take long naps, but it's your responsibility to make sure these are punctuated by walks around the block (for dogs), time outside (for cats) or active play in the house (for both).

3. Keep up on cat and dog vaccinations
In addition to scheduling regular trips to the vet for a checkup, ensure that the animals in your home are up to date on all of their vaccinations. While some vaccinations last for a lifetime, others must be updated regularly, and failing to do so could put your pet's life in danger. It may be best to ask your vet to schedule appointments in advance, so you won't forget when it's time to bring your pet in for a booster.

4. Reduce stress and anxiety
Your pets may seem like they're happy all the time, but dogs and cats can both suffer from stress and anxiety. Animals are creatures of routine, so if possible, establish a normal daily schedule for your dog or cat, and stick to it as much as possible. Big life changes, such as a move, can be very anxiety-inducing for pets, so you may want to hold off on adopting a cat or dog until you know you are going to have a steady lifestyle. Of course, there will be times when you have to make changes to your daily living routines, but providing your pets with reliability and consistency can help them stay healthier, and perhaps live longer lives.

 

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General Practice

We have over 600 animal hospitals in 41 states and 4 Canadian provinces that are staffed by more than 3,000 fully-qualified, dedicated and compassionate veterinarians, with more than 400 being board-certified specialists.

The nationwide VCA family of general practice hospitals give your pet the very best in medical care, providing a full range of general medical and surgical services as well as specialized treatments such as wellness, spay/neuter, advanced diagnostic services (MRI/CT Scan), internal medicine, oncology, ophthalmology, dermatology, cardiology, neurology, boarding, and grooming. Services may vary by location.

Our family of pet hospitals stands out by delivering the greatest resources in order provide the highest quality care available for your pets. By maintaining the highest standards of pet health care available anywhere, we emphasize prevention as well as healing. We provide continuing education programs to our doctors and staff and promote the open exchange of professional knowledge and expertise. And finally, we have established a consistent program of procedures and techniques, proven to be the most effective in keeping pets healthy.

Find a VCA General Care Animal Hospital near you:

 

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Emergency Care

VCA Animal Care Center provides round-the-clock emergency services to care for your pet when your family veterinarian is not available. We have six veterinarians and many technicians on staff that specialize in emergency services and critical care to attend to any type of small animal emergency including trauma, toxin exposure, surgical and medical crises, just to name a few. Our experienced staff continually receives advanced training specific to emergency practices and procedures to insure your pet gets the best care possible.

In addition to emergency services, we are able to provide intensive care for critically ill pets that have been referred by family veterinarians. Our clinicians are on staff 24 hours a day, every day of the year, including weekends and holidays, allowing us to monitor and provide continuous care.

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