Celebrate National Pet Day by checking up on your pets

As owners celebrate National Pet Day, they should consider routine checkups, cleaning and exercise, an expert said.

Video Transcript

MARK RIVERA: Today is National Pet Day, a chance to celebrate our furry friends and family. And it's also a day to do a few checks on your pets. David Gonsky of Westland Veterinary Care is joining us this morning live. Thank you so much for joining us.

DAVID GONSKY: My pleasure, mark. Good morning.

MARK RIVERA: Great to see you again. So, OK, let's talk about those important things that you need to check with your pet, especially keeping in mind National Pet Day, making sure that those little ones are as well as they can be.

DAVID GONSKY: Yeah, absolutely. So when I think about how to keep our pets healthy, it starts at the very beginning, so finding a good veterinarian to partner with in keeping your pet healthy for their lifespan. And then when you go in for your initial visit, I was thinking about what we do at our practice, and there's a lot of consultation about oral health care, the weight, grooming, exercise. And I think those are the places that I'd like to talk about how to keep our pets healthy today, Mark.

MARK RIVERA: Yeah, definitely. When you think about those things, especially that oral care and weight when you're thinking of people maybe taking a look at their pets right now and saying, how can I make you healthier? What should people be looking for?

DAVID GONSKY: OK. So let's start with diet and exercise. To me, one of the common problems we see, over 50% of pets in our practice are overweight. And that's nationwide, not just us. And so that's a combination of diet plus exercise, no different than us. So we want to make sure they're on a proper diet that is complete and balanced for their life stage and they're getting appropriate exercise. If there are weight issues, talk to your veterinarian because modifications to diet or exercise could help with that.

MARK RIVERA: I have a small dog, and so thinking about teeth is kind of a bigger deal for a smaller dog. What should people be looking at for their pets and their dental health?

DAVID GONSKY: Yeah. I have a small dog and at three years old she just had her teeth cleaned. So 75% of dogs three years old or over have evidence of oral health disease. So be checking the pet's mouth looking for redness of the gums, looking for brown or black tartar, and communicating with your veterinarian about how to keep healthy. Brushing teeth is great. There are special treats that are great. And what we're trying to prevent is pain, discomfort, infection, and eventual tooth loss. Very important to keep the mouth healthy.

MARK RIVERA: Definitely. Well thank you so much. We appreciate you being here this morning.

DAVID GONSKY: I'm happy to be here any time, Mark.

MARK RIVERA: Absolutely. Well it's great to talk to you again, and we'll post all this advice for you right at abc7chicago.com.