Get Prepared With This Pet Wellness Checklist
Navigating the twists and turns of “normal” in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic probably means that you’re going to have to start adding items to your to-do list. As you begin thinking about haircuts and dental appointments), returning to work and getting the kids used to their new school routines, don’t forget about keeping your pet happy and healthy too.
Compiling a list of wellness to-dos for your pet now can help you feel more prepared and less stressed about their care moving forward. Here are some ideas:
Schedule your pet’s annual checkup
Veterinary offices have largely remained open throughout the pandemic, but many clients limited their visits to emergencies only. Now is a great time to schedule that annual checkup. You can also add scheduling necessary puppy vaccinations, boosters, maintenance care such as heartworm preventives, and ensuring their prescriptions and medications are up to date and filled. Now might also be a good time to talk about food options. Depending on your pet’s age, lifestyle and health needs, your vet might steer you in a new and more nutritious direction.
Prep a first-aid kit
While we can’t fully prepare for every possible accident, all pet parents should have a basic first-aid kit for treating minor injuries. Your pet’s first-aid kit should include:
- Antimicrobial wound spray for minor cuts and abrasions
- Gauze pads or cotton swabs to clean wounds
- Flexible bandages to help keep gauze pads in place for short periods
- Paw balm to soothe dry or cracked paw pads
- Ointment to soothe sore spots
- Styptic powder to help with bleeding nails
- Medical tape
In addition to your kit, your veterinarian’s contact information (as well as that of your closest 24-hour emergency clinic) should always be readily available for yourself and for anyone else who helps care for your pet. You’ll need those numbers in an emergency and for follow-up advice for minor injuries or concerns.
Investigate pet insurance
Some accidents require more care than the tools in your first-aid kit can provide, and that’s why many pet parents opt in to a pet insurance plan. Having a plan in place early can help you rest easy knowing that, in the case of a veterinary emergency, your bills will be covered. You can focus on their care instead of worrying about how you will pay for it.
Terms and conditions vary between plans and companies, so you’ll need to do your research to find the option that best suits your budget and comfort level.
Make a grooming appointment
Depending on the breed of cat or dog you have, professional grooming may be a necessary part of their care. These sessions are especially important for pets with long hair or those who are too anxious for at-home grooming (pets AND pet parents!). Remember, matted fur and overgrown nails are not only unsightly but can become painful and dangerous for your pet, so make grooming a priority.
Get ahead of training needs
You may already be on top of training if you’ve recently welcomed a puppy into your home, but don’t forget that dog training is an ongoing activity that can help continually strengthen your bond with your pup. While a new puppy may need to focus on grasping the basics like sit and come, recent changes may have impacted the behaviors of older dogs. Changes in routine, additional deliveries to your door and you being more aware of what your dog does all day while you’re working may have uncovered that your pup has a barking “issue” or has some issues walking politely on a leash.
Getting ahead of training concerns with proactive, positive reinforcement training methods, can help both you and your dog’s comfort levels. Best thing is, there are many different classes and formats that can help to address any specific concerns. Choose from puppy classes, adult level classes or private sessions. Further, you can decide if you feel more comfortable taking your classes online or in person at a Petco location.
Deep clean your pet’s things
You’ve likely already spent a lot of time cleaning your own home, so consider a deep clean and organization of your pet’s things as well. This can include:
- Scooping your cat’s litter box every day and discarding all litter and washing/disinfecting the litter box every month.
- Washing your dog’s bed regularly and replacing it every six months.
- Switching out old food and water bowls, especially if they are scratched or chipped. Consider an electronic option that dispenses food and water on a timer to help your pet stay fed and hydrated even when you aren’t home.
- Throwing out and replacing old toys—especially frayed or broken ones—to help keep your pet safe when you’re away.
Remember, for safety and convenience, Petco offers online ordering for delivery and curbside pickup.
Simplify your pet supply needs
If you don’t already have one, consider compiling a list of things that you routinely need for your pet, including food and favorite treats, litter and litter liners, toys, and flea and tick prevention and set up repeat delivery so that you’re not left scrambling for supplies as your schedule ramps up.
Supplies aren’t the only thing your pet will require on a routine basis. Regular grooming, like mentioned above, is important. But you’re not done after a bath and brush! You can’t forget ongoing dental care and nail trims as well. One way to help you remember to keep up on these tasks is to enroll in a program like Petco’s Vital Care, which allows your dog to get unlimited tooth brushings and nail trims at a Petco location along with help with veterinary care (see, you’re already helping check off #1 of this list!).
Just like most things in life, a little planning for your pet can mean a lot less worry in the future.