January is Preventive Care Month, and with the start of the New Year, now is the perfect time to focus on your pet’s health and wellness. Bottom line: If you concentrate on preventing health issues, you have a better chance of spotting small problems before they turn into big ones. Here are six easy ways to help your cat or dog live a longer, happier life. Your wallet will thank you too.

1. Get Grooming

Brushing a dog

Regular brushing should be part of your pet’s preventive care regimen because it allows you to check for lumps, bumps, skin parasites and other potential skin abnormalities. If you detect a health problem early enough, you may be able to prevent that costly trip to the E.R. Plus, he’ll look and feel much better if his coat is shiny, lustrous and free of mats and tangles.

2. Stop Overfeeding

Bag of Dog Food
Recent studies have found that just over 50 percent of all pets in the U.S. are considered overweight or obese. This problem can be easily prevented if you pay more attention to how much you feed your pet. In other words, slipping Fido some leftovers or giving him an extra scoop of kibble may stop his begging — but it can also lead to poor health and maybe even obesity. 

3. Prevent Fleas, Ticks and Heartworm

Cat itching

Before parasites sabotage your pet’s health, ask your veterinarian to recommend safe and effective parasite preventive products because no one wants his dog or cat to be itchy and miserable.

4. Pump Up Your Pet’s Exercise Regimen

Dog running with frisbee in mouth

There are lots of ways to get your dog or cat moving, whether it’s going for a jog or signing up for a dog yoga class. Just check with your vet before starting an exercise program with your pet. The benefits of exercise are numerous — not to mention that you’ll help ward off obesity and improve your pet’s overall health.

5. Brush Those Pearly Whites

Close Up of Dog's Teeth

Are your pet’s teeth looking yellow? Does her breath reek? These signs may point to periodontal disease. Regular toothbrushing and dental cleanings can slow the progression of dental disease and help you breathe easier.

6. Schedule Your Next Vet Visit

Vet examines cat
Veterinarians recommend that you pay them a visit at least once a year, so that you can develop a proper wellness plan. Plus, your vet has a better chance of identifying problems and conditions before they turn into something more serious.