The moment you decide to bring a dog home, you’ve already signed up for a lifelong contract of keeping it safe, happy, and most importantly healthy.
Whether it be a puppy or an older dog, keeping them in perfectly good shape is one of the prime responsibilities of the owner. This is why regular checkups and veterinary visits are a must. This is to help keep your pet dog in good condition and to diagnose impending illnesses early.
Why veterinary visits are important?
Regular veterinary visits help your dog live a long and healthy life. For adult dogs, it is recommended to have a full veterinary examination at least once a year. Newborn puppies, on the other hand, are suggested to visit the vet every 3 to 4 weeks until 4 months old. Geriatric dogs, or those older than 7 to 8 years old, should visit the vet twice a year or more.
One of the benefits of yearly veterinary visits is the early detection of diseases. When your dog is diagnosed with an illness at its beginning stages, it is easier to treat with proper medication and treatment, as well as lifestyle changes.
Health Care Routine for Dogs
Feeding, grooming, and exercising your dogs are the most basic of dog health care. In addition to that, there is also a need for vaccinations, parasite control, dental care, and even protection from household hazards.
Owners know their dogs the best and are with them for the most part of the day. That’s why it’s the role of the owner to watch for any signs of disease that others might not notice.
The common signs of illness include lack of appetite, low energy, and decreased activity. More alarming and more specific signs are vomiting, diarrhea, more or less urination, coughing, sneezing, and discharge from the eyes, ears, and nose.
Musculoskeletal system problems can be detected by stiffness or lameness, like not putting weight on a leg. If you see your dog with these signs for more than two days, take them to the veterinarian for a check-up.
When your dog is sick, veterinarians will prescribe medications for them. It’s also your responsibility to make sure they are taking it on time.
Pills and chewable medications are the easiest to administer since dogs unconsciously eat them when hidden in treats, such as folded in between cheese or paired with a bit of peanut butter.
For liquid medications, especially for puppies, they can be administered using a syringe and fed into the side of the dog’s mouth. By holding its head upward, you can prevent spills.
For spot-on or other topical medications that are administered on the coat or skin, you can always ask your veterinarian for a demonstration to see how it is done.
Always keep in mind, no matter what type of medication has been prescribed for your dog, it’s always important to read and follow all instructions as stated by your veterinarian or on the label.
Just like people, vaccinations are a must for dogs too. It’s a key component of preventive medicine and helps stimulate the immune system against infection. This is an important element in the health care routine for dogs.
There are vaccinations that are given routinely to dogs to fight against infectious diseases, such as distemper, parvovirus, and rabies. There are also certain vaccinations that are important for certain regions or situations. It’s often referred to as noncore and includes Bordetella and Lyme disease.
Your veterinarian can suggest which vaccinations your dog might need, depending on its age, condition, or location.
Traditionally, booster vaccinations are given yearly to ensure continuous protection. However, this practice has been questioned and some data states that after the dog’s first year, immunity strengthens and there’s no need for yearly boosters. Currently, it’s an ongoing debate and we are sure your veterinarian will suggest what’s best for your dog.
The intestinal parasites of dogs include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms and these can damage the digestive tract or interfere with essential nutrient absorption.
To prevent this, fecal samples should be periodically, either yearly or on schedule, tested in all dogs and more frequently for puppies. These worms do not cause intestinal infection in people, however, hookworm infection can lead to abdominal pain and inflammation in people with weakened immune systems.
External parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mange mites can be prevented through body sprays or spot-on preparations placed between the shoulder blades.
Sometimes, what harms our dogs are right in front of our very eyes. When you have a dog at home, especially a puppy, protect them from household hazards such as chemicals, pesticides, cleaning supplies, electrical cords, drugs, alcohol, poisonous plants, and more. If you look around your house, you’ll be able to spot more things that prove to be dangerous for your pets.