- Insider asked vets to share what they always do for their own pets.
- A veterinarian recommended keeping pet treats and medical supplies in the same cabinet.
- Try walking your dog after a nail trim to smooth and buff rough edges.
Vets are pet professionals, so they have an edge over the average owner when it comes to caring for their furry friends.
Insider asked vets what they always do for their own pets and what care tips they wish all owners knew.
Walk your dog to preen his nails
Veterinarian Stacy Choczynski Johnson, who works with Pumpkin Pet Insurance, told Insider that trimming a dog’s nails before a walk can help tame rough edges.
“I take my dog for walks after I trim his nails because running on the sidewalk helps smooth the nails,” Choczynski said.
Conversely, if your pet is having trouble settling down for a nail trim, taking it for a long walk beforehand can help calm it down.
Microchipping is good practice for outdoor and indoor pets
Microchips are tiny implants that allow veterinarians to identify lost pets and reunite them with their owners.
“I’ve always, always microchipped my pets,” VCA Hospitals veterinarian Suzy Gray told Insider. “Even if you have an indoor-only pet, you never know when it might sneak up on you without you noticing.”
It is also important to keep the associated telephone number and address up to date.
Vet Feeds His Cats Portion Controls
“Cats should never be free-fed, so I like to feed my cats so I can control their calorie intake,” Gray told Insider.
The vet pointed out that the measure is important because a few extra kibbles over time can lead to weight gain.
Talk to your veterinarian about the right dose for your pet.
Be sure to use pet shampoo, not human shampoo
Emergency Vet 24/7 veterinarian Jenifer Chatfield told Insider that she only uses specially formulated pet grooming products.
“I never use human shampoo because it can strip healthy natural oils from animal coats and skin, which can cause skin problems,” she said.
Chatfield noted that dogs should be bathed at least once a month and no more than once a week unless otherwise directed by a veterinarian.
Vets prevent fleas before they bite
Rather than wait for summer or the first sign of fleas, Choczynski said she treats her pets ahead of time.
“Once you see an adult flea, there are already tons of eggs, larvae and pupae around it,” she told Insider. “I provide year-round flea control for my pet because I want 0% flea life cycle in my home.”
It helps keep pet treats and health supplies in one place
If your pet gets nervous when he sees you reaching for the flea medicine, consider doing a strategic rearrangement.
“I store treats and pet health supplies in the same cabinet because it will make your pet associate treats with less fun pet care items,” Choczynski told Insider. .
She said she keeps a can of cheese spray in the same basket as her dog’s detangling brush and nail clipper.
Keep pets up to date on necessary vaccinations
“I make sure to keep my pets up to date with their vaccines because I’ve seen what happens when pets aren’t up to date,” Chatfield said. “The diseases that can arise are horrible.”
Speak with your veterinarian to determine which vaccines are recommended for your pet and what their vaccination schedule should be.
It’s best to train your pets early
Training your pet early helps promote good behavior throughout life.
“Vets know it’s never too early to start working on basic commands,” Gray told Insider. “Positive reinforcement with treats and playtime with favorite toys is the most effective training method.”
Training can strengthen the bond between owner and pet, and it can be a great way to get kids involved.
Having more than one litter box can help cats avoid accidents
“I always make sure I have multiple litter boxes available for my cats,” Gray said. “I keep them in low traffic areas and always make sure they’re clean.”
Scooping litter daily can help prevent accidents — as many cats don’t like to use dirty litter boxes — and it can draw your attention to changes in your cat’s litter that may signal a health problem.