blue-ribbonThis wonderful list was written by one of our favorite veterinarians, Dr. Liz. She’s been a vet in Southern California for over 13 years, helping not only loving pet owners take the best care of their pets possible, but many rescue organizations and the local shelters as well, performing surgeries to help save homeless pets lives. She has aspired to be a veterinarian since age 3, and feels very lucky to be doing what she was born to do: helping and healing animals! She put together these 20 pearls of wisdom to help all pet owners be a better pet parent, and we’re lucky to get to share it with you here!

1. Get annual exams for your pet by a veterinarian.
2. Spay or neuter your pet.
3. Get Pet Insurance.
4. Microchip your pet.
5. Use monthly flea control.
6. For pets over the age of 5, do annual blood testing, blood pressure, and EKG’s.
7. Be aware of heartworm disease.
8. Keep your pet at his or her ideal weight.
9. Check your pet annually for intestinal parasites.
10. Research the veterinary hospital you choose. Look for those that are AHAA certified.
11. Vaccinate your dog with the rattlesnake vaccine if there may be exposure to rattlesnakes.
12. Brush your pets’ teeth.
13. Feed high-quality pet food; avoid byproducts.
14. Know what foods are toxic to your pet, such as: grapes and raisins, chocolate, onions, gum containing xylitol.
15. Avoid table scraps containing lots of fat, spices, or bones.
16. Outside your home, keep your dog leashed at all times (especially smaller dogs because of coyotes).
17. Exercise your pet daily.
18. Watch for hazards in your home: place a fence around your pool, cover electrical cords, etc.
19. Vaccinate your pet depending on his or her lifestyle. Beware of over-vaccinating.
20. Do not smoke in your home or around your pet.