October Is National Pet Wellness Month

on October 15, 2009
Posted in Fun

This October is National Pet Wellness Month and marks the beginning of new national campaign encouraging pet owners to reconsider the health of their pets.

The Campaign

The national campaign is entitled “A Happy, Healthy Pet Starts With a Plan”. Its primary goal is to promote the importance of semi-annual veterinarian visits.

The American Veterinary Medical Association along with Fort Dodge Animal Health of Overland Park, Kansas, launched the National Pet Wellness Month in 2004. VPI Pet Insurance of Brea, California, teamed up with them as a campaign sponsor this year.

The National Pet Wellness campaign is a year-round crusade in which veterinarians all over the USA, work with pet owners to educate them on proper preventative veterinary care for their pets.


The National Pet Wellness campaign is an educational initiative that has been designed to increase awareness in pet owners about the significance of having twice yearly wellness exams conducted on their cats, dogs and other pets.

National Pet Wellness Month this month also attempts to focus on educating pet owners about disease prevention, pet health insurance, as well as proper wellness examinations, all in an endeavor to help pets to live longer, healthier lives.

More or less 15,000 veterinary clinics nationwide have signed up to participate in the National Pet Wellness Month. Together with pet parents, these veterinarians will help create specific wellness programs for their pet clients and their owners.

The Three Step Plan

The National Pet Wellness campaign touts preventative veterinary care in order to prevent diseases and health conditions that could negatively affect the quality of a pet’s life in the future. Therefore, a three step plan has been envisioned to include: semi-annual pet wellness exams, disease prevention education and proper pet health insurance.

Recent studies have indicated that owners who have health insurance coverage for their pets, actually schedule more veterinary visits than those pet owners without pet health insurance. Unfortunately, most pet owners do not realize that pet health insurance coverage is available for routine wellness care as well as injuries and illnesses.

Since the campaign launched a few years ago, it has emphasized both semi-annual wellness examinations for pets and disease prevention education.

The “Pet Wellness Starts With a Plan” campaign hopes to alert pet owners to the necessity of the three step plan via educational materials at their local veterinary clinic as well as through a variety of different national public media outlets that are all focused on persuading pet owners to get in contact their local veterinarian.

Twice Yearly Examinations

Taking your pet to the veterinarian for a wellness exam every 6 months is a great preventative against certain diseases and conditions. These exams give your veterinarian a chance to diagnose, prescribe treatment and prevent any health condition that could become serious. These exams all provide an opportunity for pet parents to ask their veterinarian questions about their pet’s behavior and nutrition.

Another reason why semi-annual exams are so important is because pets age an average of seven times faster than humans. Therefore, by the time they are 2 years old, most pets are considered middle aged; and most dogs, especially large breed dogs, are thought to be seniors at 7 years of age. Since pets can age so quickly, a multitude of health problems can occur within a six month period, therefore it important that pets have a wellness exam conducted by a veterinarian every six months.

Disease Prevention

Veterinarians are able to use a “Wellness Checklist” to conduct a Risk Assessment of your pet in order to determine their exposure level to various diseases.

Examples of the type of questions that your vet may ask you are:

Do you often travel with your pet?
What other types of pets/animals do you have in your household and under your care?
Do you have any wildlife near your home?

The answers to these questions will help your veterinarian to create a highly individualized wellness and vaccination plan for your pet. This plan will help protect your pet from future diseases such as Rabies and Tick bites.

Pet Health Insurance

In today’s economy veterinary costs can prevent pet owners from taking their pets to see their veterinarian for routine wellness exams, or even when their pets are really sick.

However, if a pet is covered under pet health insurance then their owner is more likely to take them in to see the vet whenever they are sick as well as for routine checkups.

Every pet needs to see a veterinarian for both routine and preventative exams and/or surgeries throughout its life. Basic pet health insurance will cover most routine procedures and treatments for pets, such as wellness exams, vaccinations, heartworm protection and flea and tick control.

Photo Credit: doug88888

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Read also: ‘My Dog Is Cool’ Campaign

Our Expert

Dr. Janice Huntingford
Janice Huntingford, DVM, has been in veterinary practice for over 30 years and has founded two veterinary clinics since receiving her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine at the Ontario Veterinary College, University of Guelph. She has studied extensively in both conventional and holistic modalities. Ask Dr. Jan

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