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Every animal is unique, and the start of each stage of life calls for different home and veterinary care. Check with your veterinarian to establish a proactive wellness plan to keep your pet happy and healthy throughout its life.

Annual Wellness

Puppies and kittens must receive a series of properly staged vaccines and physical exams. During these exams, your veterinarian may also recommend parasite preventatives or lab tests.

Adult pets will need to continue visiting the veterinarian annually for physical exams, recommended vaccines and routine testing.

Senior pets can develop similar problems seen in older people, including heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes and arthritis. Your veterinarian may recommend biannual visits to ensure your pet's quality of life.

Spay/Neuter

Females spayed before their first heat cycle will be less likely to get uterine infections, ovarian cancer and breast cancer. Males neutered at any age will be less likely to get prostate disease. Spaying or neutering also helps prevent behavioral problems like marking and escaping. Talk to your veterinarian about spaying or neutering your pet.

Nutrition

Pets require different types of food to support each life stage. Growing puppies and kittens need more nutrient-dense food than adults while adult dogs and cats need food that will keep them healthy and energetic. Your senior dog or cat may need fewer calories, less fat, and more fiber as he or she ages. Talk to your veterinarian to determine what's appropriate for your pet.

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Exercise

Adult dogs should stay active with daily walks and one-on-one training. Keep your adult cats fit by using toys that encourage them to run and jump, and be sure to give them at least 15 minutes of playtime a day.

Weight management of your senior dog or cat is extremely important to ensure they are at an ideal body weight and able to move around comfortably.

Training

Behavioral issues are a major cause of pet abandonment. Begin training your puppy or kitten right away to prevent bad habits and establish good ones.

Start house training your puppy as soon as you get home. Keep your puppy supplied with plenty of chew toys so he or she gets used to gnawing on those and not your belongings.

All cats need a litter box, which should be in a quiet, accessible room. Place your kitten in the box after a meal or whenever it appears he or she needs to go. Be sure to scoop out solids daily and empty it out completely once a week. The number of boxes in your household should be the total of number of cats plus one.