Annual Physical Exams: Delaying an annual physical exam can hurt. Annual physical exams are an important part of providing optimal health care and the best longevity for your beloved companion. Dogs age quickly and they are unable to tell us if they are feeling a little off. Remember, it may be one year in your life but that can be about 5-10 comparative years in your pet's life. A lot can change in that much time.
Canine Vaccinations: Vaccinations (immunizations, "shots") have saved the lives of millions of dogs. Before the days of effective vaccines, dogs routinely died from distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus and complications of upper respiratory infections. Current vaccination programs protect our dogs (and us) from the threat of rabies. Newer vaccines, including those administered through the nostrils, have been developed to protect against a variety of infections.
Heartworms: Canine heartworm disease is a serious parasitic disease caused by a long, thin worm that lives in the blood vessels and heart of infected dogs. The disease is spread from dog to dog (and to cat) by mosquitoes. The mosquito bites a dog with heartworm infection, collects some of the microscopic heartworm offspring and then, after a couple of weeks, passes these on to another dog or cat. Prevention of heartworm disease is simple. In most cases, a once-monthly prescription treatment is all that is needed to effectively protect your pet. These preventatives are only available from your veterinarian, who must first make certain that your dog is not heartworm positive. These "preventatives" kill microscopic larvae that are left behind by mosquitoes when they bite a dog.
Treatment of Fleas and Ticks: Types of commercial products available for flea and tick control include flea collars, shampoos, sprays, powders and dips. Other, newer, products include oral and systemic spot on insecticides. Ask your veterinarian what is right for your pet.
Importance of a recheck: Delaying or not having a recheck exam can hurt your dog. A recheck examination is an appointment that allows your veterinarian to assess the progress and follow-up on your dog's disease or problem. Maybe you are thinking you can skip it because your dog is doing better? Even if your dog physically looks and feels better, he or she may not be completely back to normal. Some diseases can progress undetected.
Microchipping your dog: Microchips are fast becoming a popular method for permanent identification of pets. The chips are considered reliable and an effective way to identify lost pets. The chip is small, compact and easily inserted under the skin. But once inserted, there are two other equally important components of the microchip system that must be in place in order to properly identify and return lost pets to their owners; the microchip scanner and an accessible and accurate database.
Feeding your dog: Your dog knows that what's on your plate is infinitely better than what he's eating at the moment - and you may be tempted to prove it by giving him some. Before you do, remember that good nutrition and a balanced diet are essential elements for good health in a dog. And that means watching your canine's caloric intake carefully. Your dog needs plenty of fresh water and should be fed good quality food in amounts just right to meet his energy requirements. Inadequate or excess intake of nutrients can be equally harmful
Exercising your dog: Exercise is as important for your dog as it is for you. Young dogs and healthy adults alike need lots of it, and even senior pets need a regular daily workout to maintain their health. The type of exercise you choose depends on the age and fitness of your dog and your own lifestyle. Dogs are adaptable and are happy to play Frisbee in the park or take long walks in the neighborhood. Exercise is one of the best ways to spend time with your pet. It's especially important for large breed, working, and active breed types. Dogs are wonderful athletes and most adapt to even strenuous exercise, provided they have had adequate opportunity to "train" and the environmental conditions are not too extreme.
Grooming your dog: Although it's often overlooked, grooming is an important part of your dog's health program. Routine brushing and combing removes dead hair and dirt and prevents matting. Because it stimulates the blood supply to the skin, grooming also gives your pet a healthier and shinier coat. Start regular grooming when you first bring your dog home and make it a part of his routine. Purchase a good-quality brush and comb and get your dog used to being handled. Praise your dog when he holds still and soon he will come to enjoy the extra attention. Some breeds have special grooming needs, so ask your vet or a professional groomer for advice on particular equipment necessary for your pet.