First Years

First Years (1-5yr)

Your fur child is now termed an adult – although their behaviour does not always match this definition! Although this period of their life is mostly uneventful with regards to health care there are many aspects to be considered that will set them on the right paw for their future wellbeing.

Unfortunately, some animals do present with early medical issues at this stage of life. Common issues we see include heritable diseases such as hip or elbow dysplasia, allergies and epilepsy. Thankfully most of these conditions are manageable medically or with surgery. Treatments and ongoing management can be costly which is why we always encourage owners to strongly consider pet insurance to be taken out early in your fur babies life.

We encourage bi-annual visits during these first years. There is generally a lot to discuss during the annual health check-up and vaccination appointment making it challenging to spend an appropriate amount of time discussing any other concerns you may have. A 6-monthly check-up allows for advice to be given in a timelier manner without a whole year passing and problems progressing to a later stage. It also allows for more time to discuss any concerns you may have or to simply gain some invaluable advice on some of the regular things we see in animals at this stage in their life. This could include:

  • Behavioural changes;
  • Anxiety;
  • Dietary changes;
  • Managing weight gain;
  • Exercise type and frequency;
  • General training;
  • Night time routines; or
  • Holidaying with pets.

Your pet’s adult diet is a critical part of long-term health. As for puppies and kittens we encourage a base diet of a premium dry food specific to their breed and age. We strongly recommend for most adult cats and dogs the Hills t/d food. This gives them a great base level of dental care with the hope that there will be no need for intensive dental work going forward. In some instances, a sensitivity diet is required to manage any gastrointestinal or allergy issues, or a joint diet to manage early musculoskeletal concerns will be recommended. A change in food alone can make an incredible difference in managing mild-moderate health issues but it is always recommended you speak with your vet about changes in your pet’s diet.

A regular exercise routine is essential for mental stimulation, fitness, behaviour and general wellbeing. This applies to both dogs and cats. Dogs who are walked regularly and continue to be exposed to a wide variety of social situations will develop into well balanced and well-behaved adult dogs. While cats that are regularly stimulated with climbing gyms and interactive toys (e.g. laser pointers, Da Birds) will maintain a healthy weight, be more interactive with their human family and less destructive to furniture and other household items. 

A preventative health care plan is also important to long term wellbeing. A typical parasite prevention program for a dog includes an annual Proheart injection (to protect against potentially fatal heart worm), quarterly Bravecto (flea and tick prevention) and quarterly Milpro (to protect against intestinal worms). For cats we recommend monthly Revolution or Advocate flea treatment and Milpro every 6 months. SMS reminders are sent by our team to help you stay on top of your pet’s preventative care.