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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Preventative Care For Dogs And Cats

Preventative Care for Dogs and Cats

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Think about the regular care you receive throughout your lifetime from pediatricians, dentists, physicians, allergists, ophthalmologists, and so on. Why settle for anything less for your pet? Now think about the fact that pets age an average of seven years for every one of ours – and it’s clear to see why regular care is so critical.

Banfield, The Pet Hospital® recommends your pet receive a comprehensive physical exam every six months. Good preventive care requires paying attention to foundational details like nutrition and vaccinations. And regular check-ups let you know if your Pet needs deworming, grooming, training, dental care or special testing. 


A healthy, nutritious diet builds a foundation for well-being and disease prevention throughout your pet’s life. As a dog ages,  their nutritional needs change; for example, a puppy needs a diet high in calories and protein to maintain its active lifestyle and to grow healthy bones and muscles. An older dog may need a diet restricted in calories and supplemented with fiber for optimum weight and gastrointestinal health. The same goes for cats. A kitten needs a diet rich in calories and minerals for a more active lifestyle and for healthy, growing bones and muscles, whereas an older cat on the same diet could quickly get fat. The best food for older cats is restricted in fat and supplemented with fiber. Your veterinarian can help you decide which food is best for your Pet during each life stage.



Vaccinations protect dogs and cats from many viral and bacterial predators. These organisms cause a wide range of disease symptoms, from sneezing to diarrhea and death. Just like a child, your puppy or kitten needs to be protected at an early age and given boosters as an adult. Your veterinarian will develop the safest possible vaccine schedule for your pet. Vaccinations are one of mankind’s greatest medical achievements and can help yourPet live a longer, healthier life – so why take the chance?

Parasite Control   

Many types of worms can affect your pet, and some can be contagious to you and your family. Many puppies and kittens are born with worms, which attach to the intestinal lining, causing painful diarrhea or life-threatening conditions. They also compete for your pet’s nutrients, stunting growth and depriving your pet of energy. Worms live inside your dog or cat, so it may not be obvious that your pet is suffering an infestation.

Twice yearly wellness exams should include routine fecal exams during which your pet’s stool sample is checked for microscopic worm eggs. 

Giardia is one of these microscopic parasites that can invade your pet’s digestive system. The source of infection is most often contaminated water found in mud puddles, creeks and other outdoor water sources. Left untreated, the infection may cause your pet to become increasingly debilitated and susceptible to other infections. There is a risk it is transmitted between pets and humans, making you subject to the same health threats as your pets. The vaccine helps protect your pet from harm, and guards against spreading the condition from your pet to the people in your household.

Spaying or Neutering your Pet   

As your pet’s voice and keeper, you will make many important preventive care decisions, one of which is whether to spay or neuter your dog or cat. Scheduling this important surgery early in your pet’s life helps prevent many future problems which may include: cancer of the reproductive organs; uterine infections; behavioral problems such as fighting, roaming, spraying and marking and pet overpopulation. Spays (which are technically known as ovariohysterectomies) and neuters are routine and generally safe, but they are major surgeries that require general anesthesia and an all-day stay. Spays and neuters are usually performed when the dog or cat is 4 to 6 months old.

Preventive care is medicine that goes beyond treating illness to eliminating problems before they occur. In fact, preventive care encompasses everything you can do right for your puppy, kitten or adult pet. So, give your pet the regular care it needs and the best chance to live a long, happy life with you!

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