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Five Pet Care Myths

By Dr. Shawn Messonnier, DVM
Updated: 2009-02-25 10:59 PM 2435 Views    Category: - General Pet Care
 
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Change your thinking about these pet care myths and watch your pet enjoy better health!
 
1. Feeding a pet a homemade diet, especially a raw diet, will kill your pet
This is true IF you feed bad food, an improperly balanced diet, or raw food as contaminated with deadly bacteria. However, if you feed a properly balanced diet, add supplements to the diet, and properly handle all food, a homemade diet can even be more nutritious for your pet than many of the processed foods on the market.
 
2. Frequent bathing would dry out your pet's skin or coat
Nothing could be further from the truth. Unless you are using harsh shampoos, or products made for people, frequent bathing is necessary when treating pets with skin problems. The more frequently the pet with a skin problem is bathed, the less conventional medications must be used to help cure the problem. Even pets without skin diseases can benefit from bathing weekly or more often.
 
3. Older pets have a higher risk of side effects including death when put under anesthesia
Not only is this incorrect, but it discriminates against our senior citizens of the pet world. Age has nothing to do with safety of anesthesia. As long as the pet is healthy, the appropriate anesthetic agents are used, and the pet is carefully monitored during the anesthetic procedure, it is no more risky to anesthetize an older pet than a younger one. And because older pets tend to have more problems that require anesthesia to correct, they usually require anesthesia more often than younger pets.
 
4. Dental disease is no big deal
Dental disease is much more than a cosmetic problem. It is the most common infectious disease in dogs and cats, and must be treated aggressively as you would with any infection. Pets with dental disease are more likely to develop heart problems, kidney problems, liver problems, and diabetes. Whenever I see in older pet who is eating less, sleeping more, and is not feeling too good, I always examine the pet's mouth. Usually the pet has dental disease, and once the teeth are cleaned, it's amazing how much better they feel! This should be no surprise since dental disease causes chronic inflammation and chronic infection in the pet's entire body.
 
5. Pets need annual vaccinations
Probably the biggest myth is that every pet needs vaccinations at least once per year. Some doctors even recommend vaccinating pets every six months! Research shows that few if any pets need vaccines throughout their lives. The vaccines currently on the market are so good that most pets buildup an immunity that can last many years or even a lifetime. The best way to determine what vaccines your pet might need is through a simple inexpensive blood test called a vaccine titer test. Using this test in my own practice has shown me that most of my patients hardly ever need a vaccine.
 

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Dr. Messonnier, a 1987 graduate of Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine, opened Paws & Claws Animal Hospital in 1991. His special interests include exotic pets, dermatology, and animal behavior. Dr. Messonnier is a well-known speaker and author. In addition to serving clients, he is a regular contributor to several veterinary journals, sits on the advisory board of the journal Veterinary Forum and regularly consults with veterinarians across the country and is a holistic pet columnist for Animal Wellness, Body + Soul, and Veterinary Forum. More info can be found at http://www.petcarenaturally.com.
 
 
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