A few points that everyone should follow:
1. If you have a dog less than 2 years of age, get him vaccinated against parvovirus. Most cases of parvovirus are preventable, and can cost upward to $2000 to treat, whether your dog survives or not (and many don’t).
2. See your veterinarian at least once a year for a physical and lab tests. Diagnostic tests can help spot problems before they develop, and they become important as your pet ages. If you have a set of several years’ worth of normal lab tests, you will also have a baseline “normal” to refer to if problem arise.
3. Pay attention to your pet’s weight, eating and drinking habits. Just a few extra pounds can rob your dog of years of good life! Conversely, unexplained weight loss can be a symptom of something bad brewing. If your pet starts drinking more water or urinating more, this can be a sign of several conditions, such as diabetes, particularly in middle-aged cats.
4. Us a a leash, keep cats indoors and dogs fenced in. Keep tight control on your dog at all times (even the best trained dogs they can dash into traffic when seeing their sworn archenemy – the squirrel). And an indoor cat is far more likely to live late into his teens than an outdoor cat.
5. Pet-proof your home. Dogs and cats explore everything and assume the world is edible unless proven otherwise. Keeping medications and poisons where pets can’t reach them is a cheap and easy way to make sure we never get acquainted.
A little bit of planning, a little bit of luck and a little bit preparation.