This year, make it a habit to care for your pet at home.
Everyone promises to revamp their routines in the new year, but developing healthier habits shouldn’t just be for humans! Why not make one of your resolutions to take better care of your pet at home?
With our simple tips, there’s no need to make an appointment with the vet every time your pet needs their teeth cleaned or eyes flushed. Learn how to care for your pet yourself, with high-quality products meant for at-home pet wellness.
Work out together
Now that the new year has started and you’ve probably set a few workout goals for yourself, why not get your pet in on the action? Here are a few ways you can work out together:
- Interval Walks – Go for a walk, but change up your pace as you go. Try walking for a minute, then jogging for 30 seconds, and repeat. You can add in side shuffles, backwards runs, or even high-knees if you’re feeling ambitious.
- Obstacle Courses – Set up fitness props and obstacles throughout the yard, or even indoors. For every obstacle you set out for your pet (tunnels, hula hoop jumps, etc.), simultaneously do a set of exercises yourself (jumping jacks, pushups, etc.).
- Stairs – Find a long staircase and run up and down it with your pet next to you. You can vary how you go up the stairs (sideways, two at a time, etc.).
Flush and clean your pet’s eyes regularly
When it comes to your pet’s eyes, regular discharge is normal, but make sure to check for redness or other signs of irritation. Healthy eyes are bright and clear, and the whites of the eyes should be totally white. Most eyes require regular flushing to stay healthy and clear, especially if your pet has allergies or extra hair surrounding their eyes. To care for your pet’s eyes:
- Flush eyes with a specially formulated wash, such as Vetericyn Plus All Animal Eye Wash, to reduce tearing and buildup and relieve itching and burning.
- Gently use the dropper on the eye wash to flush wash directly into your dog’s eyes.
- Saturate a cotton wipe with eye solution and clean any tear stains surrounding eyes. Avoid rubbing or touching the eyeball.
- Use a specially formulated gel, such as Vetericyn Plus All Animal Ophthalmic Gel, to soothe residual eye irritation. If eye discharge isn’t cleaned often enough, it may lead to sores on the face, which can be dangerous if not treated properly.
- If eye irritation persists, or your pet develops a sore, contact your veterinarian for further assistance.
Clean your pet’s teeth
Dental care is an important aspect of at-home pet care for cats and dogs. Healthy teeth help to keep gums healthy as well. Teeth cleaning may become even more important if your dog has an overbite or underbite because their mouth may be more prone to harboring bacteria or leftover food bits which will need to be regularly cleaned out. To care for your pet’s teeth:
- Use a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for pets, and a pet-friendly toothpaste. Never use baking soda, salt or human toothpaste, as the sudsing agents in human toothpaste can damage your pet’s liver.
- Lift your pet’s lip to expose their gums.
- Brush your pet’s teeth with soft motions, as you would your own. They may not let you brush the inside of their teeth, but you should try to brush the cheeks surrounding the teeth.
Periodically flush your pet’s ears
Ear cleanings should also become a regular part of your at-home pet care routine, especially during the seasons when bugs and allergens are high, or if your pet spends a lot of time outdoors. Look inside the ear to check for dirt, scratches, parasites or discharge, and note any unusual odor. To flush your pet’s ears:
- Wrap your finger in gauze or use cotton balls. Never stick your finger in your pet’s ear because it could easily rupture their eardrum, or pack wax deeper into the ear canal.
- Saturate cotton balls with an ear rinse, such as Vetericyn Plus All Animal Ear Rinse.
- Wipe outer part of ear, then move to inner ear.
- Clean only to the point where you feel resistance, do not push on inner ear.
Give your pet a bath
The most obvious aspect of at-home pet care is bathing, but it can sometimes be the most difficult. Bathing becomes especially important when your pet is experiencing skin irritation, and during months where your pet’s coat may require extra care. An important aspect of at-home bathing is finding the right shampoo. To bath your pet at home:
- Coax your pet into the tub using treats and encouragement. Turn the water temperature to lukewarm, not cold.
- Use a shampoo that’s easy to apply, and formulated for your pet’s coat type, such as Vetericyn FoamCare Shampoo.
- Use a pull-down shower faucet to make bath time easier, as you won’t have to force your pet under the water
- Lather the shampoo into their fur so it penetrates down to the skin. Make sure to rinse thoroughly.
Care for cuts, hot spots, and skin irritations
If you notice your pet has a scratch, hot spot or small wound, you can treat it at home with the correct products and care. To care for a minor wound at home:
- Trim hair surrounding the affected area with blunt-ended scissors.
- Clean the affected area with a non-toxic, non-stinging product, such as Vetericyn All Animal Wound and Skin Care. It will help soothe any pain and jumpstart the healing process.
- Apply a cool washcloth or compress to soothe the area and relieve irritation, before patting it dry.
- Apply a topical product such as Vetericyn Plus Antimicrobial Hydrogel to soothe the area and protect it from potential infection. Continue to apply this treatment twice daily, and make sure that your pet doesn’t continue to lick or scratch the area. All Vetericyn Plus products are safe if licked or ingested but to keep your pet from aggravating the wound, you may need to use an e-collar or plastic cone.
- Continue to clean and check the affected area daily. If the area worsens or does not show improvement in a few days, you should contact your veterinarian for further treatment, such as antibiotics.
For serious issues, always contact your veterinarian.
New year, new habits
Just like you, your pet needs habitual health care. Making these six habits a priority in your home will help you keep your pet healthier and happier, which makes you happier, too! Of course, if eye, ear or wound irritation persists, contact your veterinarian for further treatment. Happy New Year from all of us at Vetericyn!
Dr. Melinda J. Mayfield-Davis, DVM, WCHP-AH, brings over 20 years of experience in veterinary medicine. She is the Technical Services Veterinarian with Innovacyn, Inc., parent company of Vetericyn Animal Wellness. She received her DVM from Oklahoma State University and now resides in Southeast Kansas with her husband, two children, four dogs, and six horses. Prior to working with Innovacyn, Dr. Mayfield owned and operated the Animal Care Center in Columbus, KS.