Importance of Preventative Care for Pets

Being a pet owner comes with lots of different responsibilities. Aside from the most obvious aspects of animal care, such as feeding them, giving them water, and making sure that they get enough exercise, there is another element of their wellbeing that you need to give your immediate attention to – their preventative care.

As its name suggests, preventative pet care is designed to prevent your pet from becoming sick, and in fact, preventative treatments save the lives of countless animals every single year. This is because many of the diseases that pose a risk to unprotected animals can be deadly. Here’s what you need to know about what’s included in preventative pet care and why it’s important.

Annual wellness exams

All animals are recommended to attend annual wellness exams, even if you don’t have any concerns about their health or wellbeing. The purpose of these appointments is to monitor the condition and health of your pet, make sure that they aren’t experiencing any symptoms that could indicate illness or disease, and help them be as active and healthy as possible.

There are several elements to an annual wellness exam, which typically include:

  • A physical nose to tail examination to check for any abnormalities

  • General observations, including heart rate, oxygen levels, temperature, blood pressure, respiratory rate, and more

  • Dental exam

  • Urinalysis

  • Fecal testing

If your vet has any concerns that have arisen from the standard elements of the appointment, they may recommend further examinations, which could include blood tests, x-rays, CT scans, or MRIs.

Routine vaccinations and boosters

Vaccinations are a key part of any preventative pet care program since they are the only method of helping animals avoiding some of the most deadly and infectious diseases. Many of these diseases are also highly contagious, but we can credit vaccinations with helping to keep them under control and saving millions of pets' lives over the years.

Some of the diseases that pet vaccinations can protect against include rabies, parvovirus, feline panleukopenia, and myxomatosis. Vaccinations are usually provided on a strict schedule, starting when animals are as young as 8-10 weeks of age. In the early months of your pet’s life, vaccines are given regularly to slowly and safely build up their immunity. However, after the initial set of vaccinations, routine boosters are provided on a regular recommended schedule. It’s important to make sure these are given on time since being late could put your pet at unnecessary risk.

Parasite protection

Parasites are a very common problem among pets. Parasites live on or in your pet’s body and can also carry infectious diseases as well as creating other health problems for your furry pal. Common parasites include fleas, ticks, and worms. Heartworms, which are a type of internal worm that live inside the blood vessels of your pet’s heart, can cause irreversible damage to your pet’s health and, when left untreated, could even prove deadly.

There are lots of different types of parasite preventatives available, ranging from spot-on and topical treatments to collars, oral medications, and in the case of heartworms, even some injections. Your vet will be able to help you to find the most suitable parasite preventative for your pet based on their breed and size. Again, it’s crucial that these are delivered on a strict schedule (usually monthly) to ensure that your pet is properly always protected. Make sure to put reminders on your calendar!


Many inexperienced owners don’t realize that spaying/neutering their pet doesn’t only prevent them from having babies, it can also have important benefits for their pet’s health. Spaying can stop females from experiencing going into heat, developing uterine infections and female cancers, which are deadly in many animals. Meanwhile, neutering males can stop aggressive and dangerous behaviors and prevent testicular cancer. Ask your vet about when your pet should get spayed/neutered.

To learn more about the importance of preventative care for pets, please contact Rocky Ridge Animal Clinic in Birmingham, Alabama at (205) 267-1300 to schedule an appointment.