There are numerous aspects to be considered when caring for your dog in order to maintain its health. Apart from food and exercise, other aspects include regular veterinary vaccinations, parasite elimination, dental care, and grooming.
Routine Veterinary Visits
The importance of veterinary care for dogs of all ages cannot be ignored. For adult dogs, a complete veterinary examination should be performed at least once every year. For puppies, visits to the veterinarian should be made at intervals of 3 to 4 weeks until they are 4 months of age. Elderly dogs of over 7 years of age should be taken to the veterinarian two times a year or even more, as health complications are more common in older pets than younger ones. A wellness routine for your dog could be one of the things suggested by your veterinarian. This would normally include regular monitoring of ailments such as early kidney or liver disease, by checking the blood work.
Be Aware Of Any New Symptoms of Illness
As the owner of a dog, you are the most familiar with your pet. Consequently, you should be keen in your observations, monitoring it carefully in order to detect any small signs of illness or changes in behavior. These are things that another person or even a veterinarian might miss. Symptoms of malaise that you should watch out for include poor appetite or reduced activity levels. More precise signs include vomiting and runny stool, frequent or non-frequent urinating, sneezing and coughing excessively, or discharge from the ears, oral cavity or eyes. A distinct loss of hair or scratchy skin could also indicate some illness. If there are problems with its muscles or bones, the symptoms will appear as inability to walk, walking with discomfort, or not putting weight on a particular limb. If your dog displays any of these signs for a period of more than two days, take them for a check-up at the veterinarians.
Giving Medications To Your Dog
Administration of chewable medicines or pills to dogs shouldn’t be difficult. Many dogs will quickly swallow a pill as long as it’s concealed in a small treat, like a bit of cheese or peanut butter. Another helpful way would be to hold the snout closed until you are certain the medicine has been swallowed. Medication in liquid form, usually prescribed for puppies, can be administered through a syringe. The tip of the syringe can be inserted into the dog’s mouth next to the rear teeth, on either side of the jaw. To avoid spillages, hold the dogs head pointing moderately upwards. There are also medical products that just require application directly onto the skin. In case of eye or ear drops, the veterinarian should be able to give you a practical demonstration. The most important thing to remember when administering medication to your dog is that you have to read and follow the instructions, irrespective of the kind of medication or how it’s administered.
Just like in people, vaccination is a crucial component of preventive medicine in dogs. Their main function is to stimulate the immune system against infection before exposure to a disease. There are a number of vaccines regularly administered to dogs that form the core defence against severe contagious disease. The other non-core vaccines are essential in certain areas and situations. Make sure you consult your veterinarian so that you get advice on which vaccines are required for your local area and conditions.
It is common practice for booster vaccinations to be administered on a yearly basis all through the dog’s life, to guarantee continuous protection. Nonetheless, this practice has come under some scrutiny over the last couple of years. There is some data that seems to show that immunity lasts long enough after the first year of life, such that booster vaccinations are required only every few years. As this is still an ongoing debate, it is important that you consult your veterinarian, as they are more aware and better placed to advise you about the best vaccination program for your pet.
Unless you intend to use your dog for breeding, it is probably a good idea to have them spayed or neutered. This way, you will avoid having unwanted puppies and potentially severe medical problems in the future, such as prostate disease in males and uterine infection or mammary cancer in females. Spaying and neutering also help in making the dog’s behaviour better. Females are typically spayed before they reach their first heat cycle i.e. around 6 months of age. It’s unnecessary to let the female experience a heat or to give birth. Actually, when it is done before the first heat, the surgery becomes much safer and future health advantages are greater. On the other hand, males are usually neutered between the ages of 5 and 10 months, though this is dependent on breed and size.