In addition to providing your dog with food and exercise, other facets of general care are needed to keep your dog healthy throughout its life. This veterinary dog care includes vaccinations, parasite control, dental care, grooming, and protection from household hazards.
Importance of Veterinary Dog Care: Adult dogs should have a complete veterinary examination at least once a year. Puppies typically need veterinary visits every 3 to 4 weeks until they reach about 4 months old. Geriatric dogs should visit their veterinarian at least twice a year.
Signs of Illness in Your Dog: You should watch your pet carefully for any signs of illness, including:
- Lack of appetite or decreased activity;
- Vomiting and diarrhea;
- Urinating more or less frequently;
- Coughing and sneezing;
- Discharge from the eyes, ears, or nose;
- Loss of hair or itchy areas on the skin or around the ears.
If your dog exhibits any of these signs for more than a day or two, a visit with your veterinarian is a good idea.
Administering Medication: Pills and chewable medications are typically easy to administer to dogs. Most dogs will eat a pill that is hidden in a small treat, such as a piece of cheese or a bit of peanut butter. Sometimes, gently holding the dog’s muzzle closed until you are sure that it has swallowed can be helpful.
Liquids can be given via a syringe into the rear of the dog’s mouth by inserting the tip of the syringe near the back teeth on either side. Spot-on products or other topical medications are administered directly on the coat or skin.
Vaccinations Are a Key Component of Preventative Veterinary Dog Care: Several vaccines are routinely given to dogs as the core defense against serious infectious illness. Several others are important in certain regions and situations. Your veterinarian can advise which vaccines are necessary for your local area and circumstances as part of your comprehensive veterinary dog care.
Parasite Control is Vitally Important: The primary intestinal parasites of dogs include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. These worms damage the digestive tract or interfere with the absorption of essential nutrients or both. Fecal samples should be tested periodically as recommended by your veterinarian in all dogs, and more frequently in puppies, which are especially prone to parasite infection.
Dental Care is Crucial: You can help keep your dog’s teeth and gums in good condition by feeding them dry food, providing gloss-style bones, brushing your dog’s teeth regularly, and following a program of professional dental cleanings and oral care performed by your veterinarian. Good dental care reduces the development of plaque which, if untreated, can progress to gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Grooming: Your dog’s hair coat should be brushed regularly to remove shedding hair and prevent hair mats. Grooming is especially important for dogs with thick or shaggy hair coats that mat or tangle easily. Periodic bathing with a pet shampoo is also important for maintaining healthy skin and fur.
Protect Your Dog From These Household Hazards: As part of your veterinary dog care, your dog must be protected from household hazards, including chemicals, pesticides, cleaning supplies, antifreeze, electrical cords, drugs, alcohol, and poisonous plants. Curious puppies that tend to investigate and chew everything are at greatest risk; however, these products must be kept out of reach of all dogs.
Spaying/Neutering: All dogs should be spayed or neutered unless they are to be used for breeding. This prevents unwanted puppies and avoids potentially serious future medical problems, such as prostate disease in males, and uterine infection or mammary cancer in females. Spaying and neutering can also improve behavior.
Remember, regular veterinary dog care is an essential component of your pet’s good health. So don’t hesitate – call our office today to schedule an appointment so we can confirm that your pet is as healthy as possible. This includes overall health and dental health as well!