Dogs bring you a lot of love and joy, but they rely on you to keep them healthy. Start with the basics to keep your pet safe and sound for years to come.
Before you bring your pet home, make sure your home is secure for them. Secure any electrical cables kids might chew, close toilet lids, and make sure they can’t get into any medication or household cleansers, for example. Do you have a pool in your backyard? If your dog can’t or won’t learn to swim, consider investing in a pool fence or a motion detector system that will alert you if they fall in. Also, make sure your dog doesn’t have access to any human food, as some of it is toxic to dogs. You might wish to use child-proof latches to secure cupboards and trash cans if they are very curious.
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Dog-Proof Your Home
Vaccines, like vaccines for people, are one of the most effective ways to protect your dog’s health. They protect people from deadly diseases including parvo, distemper, and rabies, which are highly contagious and highly contagious. Depending on their health conditions and where you reside, the schedule and vaccines they require will differ, so consult to your veterinarian about what you should get. Most pups should have their first set of vaccines around the age of six weeks, and then every three weeks until they are 16 weeks old. Every 1 to 3 years, adult dogs must be vaccinated again.
When it comes to what your dog eats, consider their age, weight, health, and amount of exercise. In general, look for a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials on the label of the food you’re considering. That says it’s “complete and balanced” in terms of nutrients. Feeding your dog bones, raw meat, or raw eggs should be avoided. Raw foods, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, the CDC and other organizations, can cause major health problems in animals, such as E. coli infection and other harmful germs. The stomach and intestines of a dog can be torn apart by bones.
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Spay or Neuter Your Pet
Every year, millions of homeless dogs enter shelters, with many of them being killed. Spaying or neutering your dogs, which are basic surgeries that prohibit them from having puppies, can help to avoid overpopulation. Additionally, these treatments can benefit your pet: spayed females have a lower chance of breast cancer and uterine infections later in life, while neutered males have a lower risk of prostate disease and testicular cancer. The procedures are generally safe, but you should discuss any potential dangers with your veterinarian.
Dogs, like humans, require exercise. It helps individuals maintain a healthy weight and provides a physical and mental outlet for their energies. This can help you curb unwanted behavior such as digging, barking, and chewing, which dogs are prone to when bored. What’s the best way to get some exercise? Dogs crave human interaction, so choose activities that you and your dog can do together, such as fetch, walking, hiking, or swimming. (Added bonus: it gets you moving.)
Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Make it a point to brush their teeth at least once a day. It keeps their breath fresh and aids in the prevention of gum disease, which has been related to various health issues like heart disease and liver disease. Inquire with your veterinarian about the best dog toothpaste and toothbrushes. Additionally, keep an eye out for any indicators of dental illness, such as bleeding, discolored teeth, or very bad breath. During annual appointments, your veterinarian should inspect your dog’s mouth as well.
Keep Your Pet Cool — and Warm
Your dog will require additional assistance to keep safe and comfortable when the weather turns hot or cold. If it’s hot outside, take your dog for a walk in the shade or on the grass to avoid scorching their paws on the hot concrete. Make that they have enough of water and shade. Ask your veterinarian about a sunscreen you can use if they don’t have much fur or have bald spots. Also, during the warmer months, never leave your dog in a car: In just ten minutes, the temperature inside a car can rise by 20 degrees. The longer they are imprisoned, the hotter it becomes. Even though it’s just 80 degrees outside, the temperature inside the car can quickly rise to 114 degrees.
Your best bet for maintaining your dog warm in the winter is to keep them indoors as much as possible. Consider getting them a sweater and perhaps booties for walks, especially if they just have a short coat. Antifreeze should also be avoided because even a small amount can poison a dog. So wipe their paws once they come inside, mop up any spills, and don’t let them eat snow.
Consult your veterinarian about the best flea, tick, heartworm, and other parasite removers. Dogs might be irritated by these pests, and they can also cause major health problems. Heartworms can cause heart failure and lung problems, fleas can cause anemia, and ticks can cause Lyme disease and other illnesses.
Prepare for Poisoning
If your dog ingests something poisonous, contact your local poison control center or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (888-426-4435) immediately, and take your dog to the vet or an emergency vet facility. Don’t risk it: even a small bit of chocolate can be harmful to a dog, and one ibuprofen can cause kidney failure.
Watch for Warning Signs
Because dogs are unable to communicate when they are ill, keep an eye out for indicators that something is wrong. If you detect any of the following warning indications of a health problem, contact our veterinarian:
- Changes in their poop or pee
- Any change in eating habits
- Discharge from the eyes, nose, or other places on the body
- Bald patches
- Very bad smells from any body part
- A lot of licking or biting a spot on their body
- Weight loss
Also, take care out for strange behaviors; if your dog becomes aggressive or sleepy all of a sudden, it could be a symptom of a health condition.
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