Watch theGrio Asks: How to keep your pets active and healthy

Brooklyn-based veterinarian Dr. Pamella Dendtler offers advice to pet parents.

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Dr. Pamella Dendtler knows all about caring for animals. The veterinarian is the founder, owner and president of the Clinton Hill Animal Clinic in Brooklyn, New York and has more than 40 years of experience helping a variety of animals.

In TheGrio Asks special series, Dendtler answers a few questions from pet owners in regard to what it takes to make sure their pets are active and healthy.

Pamella Dendtler, founder of the Clinton Hill Animal Clinic in Brooklyn, New York, offers tips for keeping pets active. (Courtesy of theGrio)

Just like it is important for humans to move the body and stay active, it is very beneficial for pets as well. For dogs, Dendtler recommends leash-walking twice a day for 45 minutes and potty breaks for 10 to 15 minutes.

“I know that’s hard for people because they’re working,” she says. “But it is good for the pet. So sometimes you may have to have a pet walker that can do that for you. But that exercise is very important.”

For cats, you can do a few things from the comfort of your home. “Throwing things: objects for them to chase. They have little feathers on a string with a ball that you could engage them with,” Dendtler recommends. “There’s also laser lights that you could point on the wall and they could run and look and chase the light. That’s very, very good. So those are good forms of exercise that are fun and beneficial.

If your pets are not as active, this is generally one of the earliest signs that suggests the onset of most diseases, Dendtler says.

“That can let us know about cardiovascular problems, where they don’t even have enough energy,” Dendtler says. “Respiratory problems. You know cats can have asthma, bronchitis, so can dogs. And so they’ll they’ll be mopey. Pets that have arthritis in the knees and the hips particularly and also back arthritis.”

“As dogs get older, their backbones can actually fuze, so they’re not as flexible this way,” she adds. “That can throw off their hip joints and can throw off the knee joints. And so they’re sitting down more. So mobility is very, very important to notice because sometimes that’s the only thing a client will tell us, but that statement opens up so many possibilities.”

Wellness checks for pets are very important, and Dendlter details how often pets should visit a veterinarian, based on the age of the animal. “In the beginning, a kitten or a puppy should come in at about 8 weeks, 12 weeks [and] 16 weeks,” she explains. “And that’s for the examinations and the shots that we give, like core vaccinations, distemper, parvo, rabies. And then as adults, if they’re healthy, they can be seen once a year.”

Dendtler continues, “Older pets, we like to see twice a year because we’re taking blood work again from 7 and up. We could start seeing changes in their functions — their blood functions, their kidneys, their liver.”

Check out the full interview above for more advice on keeping your pets active and healthy.

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