Keep your dog in good health

Keep your dog in good health

Taking your dog to the vet can be a harrowing experience for you and your dog. However, it is necessary to provide your dog with a healthy, happy and long life. Your dog should visit the vet once a year for annual check-ups, vaccinations and a heartworm blood test. Always take your dog to the doctor immediately if he is sick or injured.

Puppies will need to be vaccinated with a 5 in 1 combination vaccine at 2, 3 and 4 months, followed by annual shots. This vaccine inoculates your puppy against hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, parainfluenza and distemper. Larger dogs such as the Doberman Pinscher, American Staffordshire Terrier/Pit Bull and Rottweiler will need the combination vaccine by five months of age. An unvaccinated dog that is over four or five months of age will need to receive a series of two vaccinations given two to three weeks apart. After these injections, be careful not to let your puppy go outside, sit or walk on the animal hospital floor for a few days after the last vaccination is completed, thus avoiding infection. Some states require a rabies vaccination for your puppy, which must be administered annually for two years and followed by revaccinations every three years. If your animal becomes ill and has not been properly vaccinated, be sure to administer the vaccine after the animal has fully recovered.

Heartworm is a common and deadly parasite. It lives in the dog’s heart and is transmitted by mosquitoes. It’s a good idea to have your dog tested for heartworm every spring. This test will determine if your dog has been infected in the previous year. During mosquito season, you can give your dog a pill once a month to protect him. If you are traveling outside of your area and will be spending time in a tropical or warm location where mosquitoes will be present, you will want to give your dog or puppy heartworm prevention medication during the trip. If you live in a warm climate year-round, it is recommended that you constantly monitor and administer drugs against heartworm.

Roundworms and hookworms are also on the list of debilitating canine diseases. Dogs can be exposed to these infections through microscopic eggs in the infected feces of another dog. Often puppies are infected with hookworms or roundworms and this can be treated by your trusted vet.

Whenever you kiss or are licked by your dog and inhale “dog breath,” it may not just be a case of gingivitis. Your dog’s bad breath is an indication to you that your dog may have serious liver or intestinal disease, diabetes, kidney disease, or simply needs a visit to the dentist. Regular dental checkups and cleanings will determine if your dog’s mouth has bacteria and plaque that requires professional treatment. You can maintain good dental health for your dog by brushing regularly and feeding him dental chews. With a soft child’s toothbrush, the owner can clean the dog’s teeth with dog toothpaste or baking soda and water paste every week. If your dog’s bad breath is accompanied by other symptoms of poor health, such as depression, loss of appetite, or vomiting, take your dog to the vet for a complete examination.

Always check your dog for fleas and ticks and never feed your dog any medications that are not prescribed!

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