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Q: What should I get for my pet for the holidays?

Posted December 12, 2012 in Advice Column, Des Moines West

A: Routine veterinary care. It’s important that we spend time on at least an annual basis talking with you about your pet’s lifestyle, diet and disease prevention. It’s important we exam your pet from head to tail. One year of a dog’s life is equivalent to five to seven years in a person’s life, and one year in a cat’s life is equivalent to five years in a person’s life. Quite a bit can change medically in that time.

• Exercise. This is important for both you and your pet. We recommend at least 30 minutes daily; pets suffer from inactivity. Exercise prevents diseases including obesity and diabetes, as well as behavioral problems. There are ways you can encourage exercise for cats, such as purchasing a cat jungle gym (cats love to go vertical), engaging with cat toys, having them chase a laser pointer or getting them roused up with occasional catnip.

• Consider pet health insurance. This helps protect against unexpected illness and accidents. Some policies also cover routine veterinary care.

• Consider donating to a pet waiting for its “forever” home. Our clinic is participating in a holiday drive to benefit the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. We are collecting needed items including clay cat litter, quality food for small animals and birds, small animal pine bedding and large Kong and Nylabone toys. Visit our website for more details.

Information provided by Dr. Laurie Meythaler-Mullins, Ingersoll Animal Hospital, 3009 Ingersoll Ave., 650-2770.

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